Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Private Worlds

Dark room with laptop

Late last year when Japan’s master animation artist Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Totoro) addressed a room of mostly Western journalists in Tokyo, many of us were expecting him to talk about his latest fantastical feature film, Ponyo, which was just about to open worldwide. Instead, the 68-year-old director spent 15 minutes issuing a stern warning about the dangers and delusions of living through virtual media. “All of our young people today derive their pleasure, entertainment, communication and information from virtual worlds,” he declared. “And all of those worlds have one thing in common: They’re making young Japanese weak.”

Miyazaki ticked off the usual suspects – cell phones, emails, video games, television – and he also included two more categories: manga and anime. “These things take away [young peoples’] inherent natural strengths,” he continued, “and so they lose their ability to cope with the real world. They lose their imaginations.” [Read more here]

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