[Nausicaa.Net] The Hayao Miyazaki Web

||  Main  |  Mailing List  |  Films  |  Search  |  Ghiblink  |  Feedback  ||

Why heroines in Miyazaki works
A collection of short excerpts

Translated from Japanese to English by Ryoko Toyama
Edited by Eric Henwood-Greer

Translated without permission for personal entertainment purpose only. This is not, by any means, an accurate word for word translation, and the translator is solely responsible for any mistranslation or misunderstanding due to it.


[Here are three excerpts about Miyazaki's apparent emphasis on using female as leads in his works.]


"Why is Nausicaa a female?"


[An excerpt from a promotional article on the movie Nausicaa.]

Question: Nausicaa, the protagonist, is a female. Is there any particular reason for that?

Miyazaki: Well, men are not in good shape these days. When a man is shooting a handgun, it's just like he is shooting because that's his job, and he has no other choice. It's no good. When a girl is shooting a handgun, it's really something. When I saw a movie Gloria, I really felt so, well, it's not a girl, but a middle-aged woman (obasan)-- She shoots a handgun as if she is throwing dishes. It's really exhilarating. (The story of) a man gaining independent always told though (some events) in which he defeats an opponent in a battle, or fights his way through a difficult situation. But in the case of woman, it's to feel, to accept, or to cradle, something like that... Nausicaa is not a protagonist who defeats an opponent, but a protagonist who understands, or accepts. She doesn't think about avenging her parent's death. She is someone who lives in a different dimension. Such (character) is a woman rather than a man. If it's a man, that's too weird. I feel that men (depend) more on words. I felt that, for the issues concerning nature, women deal with them by feeling.

[Young Magazine, February 20, 1984. Reprinted in Archives of Studio Ghibli Vol 1; published by Studio Ghibli, 1996.]



"Why are your protagonists always female?"


[An excerpt from an interview.]

Question: Why do you always choose a girl as your theme?

Miyazaki: I don't logically plan it that way. When we compare a man in action and a girl in action, I feel girls are more gallant. If a boy is walking with a long stride, I don't think anything particular, but if a girl is walking gallantly, I feel "that's cool." Maybe that's because I'm a man, and women may think it's cool when they see a young man striding. At first, I thought "this is no longer the era of men. This is no longer the era of taigimeibun."[1] But after ten years, I grew tired of saying that. I just say "cause I like women." That has more reality.

[Kikan Iichiko, October 20, 1994. Reprinted in Shuppatsuten by Hayao Miyazaki; published by Tokuma Shoten, 1996.]



[Boys as leads versus girls as leads]


[An excerpt from a talk with Ryu Murakami, a Japanese novelist.]

Key to the dialog
Miya: Hayao Miyazaki
RyuM: Ryu Murakami

Miya: I gave up on making a happy ending in the true sense, a long time ago. I can go no further than (the ending in which the lead character) gets over one issue for the time being. Many things will happen after this, but this character will probably manage-- I think that's as far as I can go. From the standpoint of a movie maker, it would be easier if I could make a movie in which "everybody became happy because they defeated the evil villain."

RyuM: Yes, that's easier. -laughs- A lot of issues haven't been solved, but something has ended for the time being, and probably a new thing will start. Still, this person will manage to go on somehow-- those who make us feel like that are all girls, aren't they? -laughs-

Miya: Yes. -laughs-

RyuM: And it's a bit painful, since (the depiction of such girls in Miyazaki anime?) have such reality.[2]

Miya: Yes. When I think about making a male a lead, it gets really intricate. The problem isn't simple. I mean, if it's a story like, "everything will be fine once we defeat him," it's better to have a male as a lead. But, if we try to make an adventure story with a male lead, we have no choice other than doing Indiana Jones. With a Nazi, or someone else who is a villain in anyone's eyes.

RyuM: And set the time and situation around that.

Miya: We can't do anything other than that. It's easy to depict a boy who wants to do such a thing (be a hero in an adventure story?), but can't help but to live slovenly. He has more than enough energy, but he doesn't know how or where to use it, or even if he uses such energy, he can find his way only after a long detour-- I can make such a story. But people ask me "why do you always make a story about a girl?"...

RyuM: I myself get confused when I think, what if Nausicaa were a man. -laughs- In that scene in which Nausicaa was on the golden feelers of Ohmu, if she had been a man, it would be like "are you stupid!?" -big laughs- Well, Nausicaa is lovely, so...

Miya: Well, that's... -big laughs- But while making animation, I always feel that we are making big lies. For example, could we depict an affirmative character with a so-so looking girl? What we are doing is a show in a sense, after all.

RyuM: But if they are lovely, that's good enough, isn't it? -laughs-

Miya: It's difficult. They immediately become the subjects of rorikon gokko (play toy for Lolita Complex guys). In a sense, if we want to depict someone who is affirmative to us, we have no choice but to make them as lovely as possible. But now, there are too many people who shamelessly depict (such heroines) as if they just want (such girls) as pets, and things are escalating more and more. While we are talking about the human rights for women, why they can do this, I don't want to analyze much, but...[3]

[Animage, vol 125, November, 1988. Reprinted in Shuppatsuten by Hayao Miyazaki; published by Tokuma Shoten, 1996.]


Notes from the translator
1. Taigimeibun can mean justification, justice, or a big good cause something like "for the human race" --ryo
2. I think he is a bit sorry since all the attractive protagonists are girls, and that shows the poor status which today's boys are facing --Ryo
3. In the beginning of this talk, they talked about Tsutomu Miyazaki, an anime Otaku (that's how media labeled him) who killed several little girls in that year.

[Blue Ribbon Icon] This page is brought to you by Team Ghiblink .