Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Takahata, Miyazaki, Otsuka

In celebration of Hayao Miyazaki's 70th birthday on Wednesday, I wanted to finally contribute the one thing the internets are so sorely lacking: photos of Miyazaki as a young man.  So I popped in Yasuo Otsuka's Joy in Motion, Studio Ghibli's excellent, must-see documentary DVD from 2004, grabbed the digital camera, and took some photos.

The photos are of Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki, and Yasuo Otsuka, taken sometime during the production of Horus, Prince of the Sun (1965-68). The fouth photo shows their ages in 1967: Otsuka, the elder brother anime pioneer; Takahata, the revolutionary director; Miyazaki, the hotshot and ambitious upstart.  For those series of photos, they were filming themselves swinging an axe, as research for what would become the opening fight scene in Horus.  How shocking that scene must have felt to audiences four decades ago!

It's easy to look at the old men Otsuka, Takahata and Miyazaki have become, and think of kindly grandfather figures, Japan's answer to Uncle Walt.  But they were young once, and they were '60s radicals and revolutionaries in every sense of the word.  It feels like a thousand years ago.


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