Comic-Con: Miyazaki breaks his silent protest of America’s actions in Iraq with visit to the U.S.


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Hayao Miyazaki breaks his U.S. boycott to attend Comic-Con. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times.

In 2003, Hayao Miyazaki decided not to attend the Academy Awards, even though his film, ‘Spirited Away,’ was up for Best Animated Feature. He did not give a reason at the time, and it was conjectured that the Japanese animator’s absence was related to President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq that year.


Miyazaki, who has not spoken publicly of the subject, today explained his reasons in an interview with The Times at Comic-Con.

‘The reason I wasn’t here for the Academy Award was because I didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq,’ he said. ‘At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don’t see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling.’

The creator of films such as ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service,’ ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ and ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ said he broke his six-year boycott as a favor to John Lasseter, the creative chief of Pixar Animations Studios with whom he has a strong friendship. Lasseter, who is helping to bring Miyazaki’s latest movie ‘Ponyo’ to the U.S. in August, interviewed the director on stage this afternoon before showing a clip of the film to a dazzled audience.

‘I thought I had to respond to my friendship with John Lasseter and come this time,’ Miyazaki said.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.