Friday, July 31, 2009

Hayao Miyazaki 2

Hayao Miyazaki., originally uploaded by Emily Barrera.

And in B&W. (Photo by Emily Barrera.)

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki, originally uploaded by lotusstone.

With Miyazaki-san and interpreter Beth Cary at UC Berkeley, July 25, 2009. Photo courtesy of 'lotusstone.'

Friday, July 24, 2009

Miyazaki in Berkeley Preview

Center for Japanese Studies Set to Bestow Japan Prize on Hayao Miyazaki

The Acclaimed Japanese Filmmaker's Appearance At UC Berkeley Presents An Invaluable Opportunity



Taking major steps to recognize one of modern cinema's most accomplished visual artists, UC Berkeley's Center for Japanese Studies has chosen animation director Hayao Miyazaki as the recipient of the 2009 Berkeley Japan Prize. As part of his much-touted stateside visit, the renowned filmmaker will participate in a two-hour interview at Zellerbach Hall on July 25, a highly anticipated event that will be moderated by Roland Kelts, Tokyo University lecturer and author of "Japanamerica."

Miyazaki will follow in the footsteps of noted Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, who received the prestigious award last October for his literary achievements. "The Berkeley Japan Prize honors individuals from all disciplines and professions who, through their work, have brought worldwide audiences to come into closer proximity with Japan," explained Professor Duncan Williams, current chair of the Center for Japanese Studies, in an e-mail. "We are honored to give the prize to one of the world's greatest filmmakers, who has brought Japan and the best in innovative Japanese culture to the world through the medium of film."

Born on January 5, 1941 in Tokyo, Japan, Hayao Miyazaki became fascinated with animation while still in high school. After graduating from Gakushuin University with degrees in political science and economics, he found work at Japan's renowned Toei Animation as an animator and concept artist. The success he enjoyed at Toei paved the way for a fruitful collaboration with director Isao Takahata, who would later co-found the influential Studio Ghibli with Miyazaki. Their work on the popular animated television series "Lupin III" would eventually lead to Miyazaki's first feature, 1979's "The Castle of Cagliostro" ... [more HERE]

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sydney synchronicity

Thanks to Dr. Rebecca Suter, the Japan Foundation, the University of New South Wales and Sydney University for a stellar week in Sydney. I am honored to be here.

And big thanks to Tanya at Palgrave Australia.

We leave for Brisbane on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

japanaustralia--japanamerica in australia

Australia book tour, courtesy of JSAA and the Japan Foundation

(photos of animania festival from jonathan gadir, abc radio)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Couple o' kudos to Schodt and Alt

[photo courtesy of Lisa Katayama @]

My good friend Fred Schodt (pictured on far right above with wife Fiona, two relatives, and Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine) was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, the Japanese government's most prestigious non-military honor, at a ceremony in San Francisco late last month. Fred's work as an author, translator and interpreter have introduced the English-speaking world not only to the wonders of manga (in the still unsurpassed Manga! Manga!), but also to overlooked Japan-American historical narratives--as in his beautifully understated book, Native American in the Land of the Shogun.

Fred is probably best known for introducing non-Japanese to the work of Osamu Tezuka, whom he befriended in the 1970s, becoming Tezuka's interpreter during overseas jaunts. And his latest book, The Astro Boy Essays, about the eponymous Tezuka icon, is especially timely, given that, for better or worse, Hollywood is finally about to release worlwide its own CGI take on the Mighty Atom on October 23.

Kudos of a different kind to another friend--author, translator and blogger Matt Alt. Matt's reporting on the ailing anime industry's recent round of self-scrutiny has been exemplary and insightful--and can be found in a tightly organized series here.

Matt's latest book, the charming and exhaustive Yokai Attack!, is another beneficiary of good timing: the Kyoto International Manga Museum, which I visited a couple of weeks ago after giving a talk in Kyoto, is about to launch an entire exhibition devoted to the history and pictorial imagery of yokai (Japanese monsters) called "Yokai Paradise Nippon: Picture Scroll to Manga."
The exhibition opens Saturday, July 11 and runs through August 31. If you can get to Kansai, check out the yokai.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Japanamerica, Roland Kelts and Hayao Miyazaki this month in California

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Hayao Miyazaki in Conversation with Roland Kelts
6:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Zellerbach Auditorium

For this extremely rare, U.S. appearance, Hayao Miyazaki will have a conversation with Roland Kelts (Tokyo University lecturer and author of Japanamerica), followed by a question and answer period with the audience. Join us for an opportunity to engage Miyazaki in a conversation about more than just anime — the social issues and ideas that his films champion, including the future of Japan and the role of the artist in a rapidly evolving world.

For tickets to this limited-seating engagement, please visit