Interview with mighty Miyazaki alias Miya-san

Full article is here on There was some extra good “sweating on Ghibli” yesterday. Like every Sunday it was time for another Radio Ghibli at Tokyo FM. This week’s Ghibli Asemamire didn’t take place at Suzuki’s Renga-ya, but at Miyazaki’s office Butaya. Suzuki hid an IC recorder in his pocket, recorded it and added comments in a whispering off-stage voice. Of course a podcast version (music excluded) is available for download in Japanese and is providing an English summary.


Lets flashback to Studio Ghibli’s original way of transferring us to their Ponyo press conference…

We hear the sound of the train running… The narrator announces that the train will take us to the interview stage… While almost arriving at our end station, we hear the conductor over the speakers “Thank you for riding this train, you’ll arrive at Studio Ghibli soon! If you transfer to Neko-bus (My Neighbor Totoro’s Catbus), please change here. Exit doors will be at the right side.” The doors open and we hear the ocean waves and seagulls crying…

With a large amount of TV cameras present, Miyazaki Hayao appeared wearing his regular apron which showed that he escaped during the middle of his job. He was joined by composer Hisaishi Joe, Fujioka Fujimaki and Nozomi Ohashi who sat in centre. At first, the host asked Miyazaki to make a statement. Suzuki whispers “It’s different from the plan that was arranged earlier. Miya-san is angry…”

Miyazaki “I’m glad to get such a good song. I would like to reach a good happy ending to go with it, but I haven’t completed the storyboard, so I think I’ll have to hurry.” Hisaishi “Fortunately, when I was showed the A-part and B-part of the e-conte (storyboard), I immediately got the theme melody: “Ponyo, Ponyo, Ponyo…”. It was so simple that I wondered to be laughed at and left it like that for 2 or 3 months. Afterwards I still liked the melody and played it to Miyazaki and Suzuki. They both liked it and said its simplicity is needed for the movie.” Fujimaki “Sorry… this is my first time being interviewed like this… so I’m very nervous…(he was too nervous to answer). Fujioka “Maybe all of you are wondering why 2 of these unknown middle aged men are here. The two of us have formed a band for 2 years now, just in order to prepare to enjoy our post-retirement years. So we are also amazed at this situation…” Nozomi mentioned “I sang as well as I could!” and was followed by a big applause. Suzuki whispered “I’m jealous! Small kid’s statements are always welcomed as they’re so simple!

The host asked Miyazaki “What did you ask Hisaishi for composing the song?” Miyazaki “I handed him a memo paper, but I can’t remember what I asked him. Please ask Hisaishi. Maybe he remembers.” Hisaishi “I got a long note like a love letter. Of course its love isn’t for me, but love for the movie. It was over 10 pages long. I guess in the beginning creators haven’t got a complete image of what they want and just have some core images. I felt images like Ponyo coming or the mother of the sea…” Suzuki whispers “Miya-san always makes memos when he “asks” for music. It’s something Takahata once advised him and Miyazaki he has done it like this for over 20 years.”

A Q&A session started. Pia “Can you tell me about the story, if you can?” Miyazaki replies “Later, the producer will tell something except the story. Anyway, till so far we have used computers to make our movies, but I came to think that having paddles and raising the sails is better. So this time we decided to throw off any 3D CG and must make it with pencils only. As it needs so many hand drawn pictures, I can’t guess how much pictures we must draw… maybe it will be unprecedented. I think hand drawing on paper is the fundamental of animation.” Suzuki whispered “Miya-san is cool-headed today. He fended the question well. He didn’t say anything about the contents of the movie.”

A question followed if the theme song is meant to be used for the opening or ending of the film. Miyazaki replied “If it’s played at the opening, many of the audiences might go out for picnic. So it would be better to be set it at the end. Then I must fit the ending to this song without any gap. A good ending suitable for this song will carry out my responsibility to Hisaishi and Nozomi.


Tokyo FM also asked a question “We heard the storyboard is delayed. Can you make it in time?” to which Miyazaki answered “I don’t think it’s so much delayed… Anyway, we must draw so many by hand… so we are struggling now…” Daily Sport was present as well “I think the song has a father’s theme. This is your first film after your son Goro directed Gedo Senki last year. Are you conscious of it?” Miyazaki “We can’t make a movie if we have such evil in mind.” (applause)

A live performance of the Ponyo theme song followed.

“Why did you decide to use Nozomi?” Miyazaki noted that “While the lyrics and music was left unclear, we asked her to sing a demo. When we listened to it we were stunned by its innocence. We ojisans (aged men) were beaten. That’s all. I hope Fuji-Fuji not to spoil Nozomi’s innocence.” “Nozomi, what did Miyazaki say to you?” Nozomi “He told me… good job…” (laughing)

This week’s Ghibli Asemamire ended with Fuji-Fuji’s “Fujimoto’s theme” as ending music. Its lyrics were written by Fujioka and the music was done by Hisaishi Joe. In case of the Ponyo theme song, its lyrics were written by animation director Kondo Katsuya and corrected by Miyazaki Hayao.

Explore posts in the same categories: Miyazaki, Ponyo on a Cliff

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