Did Hayao Miyazaki really say that Anime was a mistake?

Anime was a mistake

Did Hayao Miyazaki really say that anime was a mistake?

Anime is hand-drawn and computer animation originating from Japan. In Japan and in Japanese, anime, describes all animated works, regardless of style or origin. Outside of Japan and in English, anime is colloquial for Japanese animation and refers specifically to animation produced in Japan.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest anime directors of all time. He might also just hate modern anime.

If you’ve ever seen the quote “Anime was a mistake” attributed to Hayao Miyazaki, you might’ve written it off as a gag. After all, Miyazaki is one of the most widely beloved anime directors of all time. To date, his film Spirited Away is the only anime film to win an Oscar. His films have inspired generations of anime directors. He’s been involved in the industry since the 1960s and has mentored anime directors like Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s Hideaki Anno.

However, while he never exactly said “anime was a mistake,” Miyazaki is incredibly critical of the anime industry, creators and fans. While some of his complaints read like a cranky old grandpa who doesn’t like new technology, a lot of his complaints are harder to dismiss.

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Did Hayao Miyazaki really say that Anime was a mistake?

Yes. It happened in 2002, May 12th at exactly 2:20PM. The famous Miyazaki in an interview with Tokyo TV famously said Anime was a mistake. It’s nothing but trash.

That is nothing more than a meme and a false interpretation of what he REALLY said. The time and date I gave was pure sarcasm, but this is what he seriously meant in an interview:

“You see, whether you can draw like this or not, being able to think up this kind of design, it depends on whether or not you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, yeah, girls like this exist in real life. If you don’t spend time watching real people, you can’t do this, because you’ve never seen it. Some people spend their lives interested only in themselves.

Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!”

As he pointed out, whether you’ve got the gist of it or not, is that if you don’t have experience with the types of characters or roles you’re playing, the results will speak for themselves.

It makes sense. It’s like a college professor who has never sold a product in his entire life giving business advice on how to sell (sadly it happens, but anyway). Miyazaki’s movies are the way they are because the people behind them have a CONTEXT that the “Otaku” ones, who lack real-world experience, don’t have.

To be a creator, writer, author, artist, etc., CONTEXT is the holy grail. Imagination can only take you so far if you can’t really relate to or understand the character you are creating. I’m sure this is what he really meant by his “statement” regarding Otaku and the anime industry.

I don’t follow Miyazaki like that, but what’s interesting is a lot of things I’ve said dozens of times about the anime industry (lacking effort, cheap fan service, half-assed, etc) is the exact thing he’s said himself.

As someone here pointed out:

“The rest of that essay is about his fear that Japanese animation has been degraded to the level of being a “cheap in-flight meal” like Disney works.”

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Does Hayao Miyazaki hate the United States?

Mr. Miyazaki is a well known pacifist. I cannot imagine him hating the US or any country. In his mind, it is the disrespectful policies that governments use that he has trouble with.

The closest he has ever come was when invited to an Academy Awards event, he refused, citing the the fact that we were bombing Iraq at the time. But then, he has also been critical of his own government for wanting to re-arm itself, and also for not apologizing for the use of Korean comfort women during the War.

Mr. Miyazaki is a gentle man with an interest in telling stories about the environment, feminism, love and family. This is a man who is respectful, not of hate.


The troll quote comes from the transcript of Miyazaki’s interview with the Japanese news site Golden Times, published on January 27, 2014.

During the interview, Miyazaki expressed his skepticism regarding the current state of anime as an art form and culture industry, particularly how little the new generation of animators seek inspiration from actually observing human behaviors and interactions in real life.

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On January 30, the English-language Japanese news site RocketNews24 provided a translation of the original interview.


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