Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: November 11th, 2018
Studio Ghibli is beloved by most anime fans, popular internationally and has reached mainstream status. Many have seen them as “Japan’s Disney” and considered their studio to be a model that should be followed by the rest of the industry. Even the way they handled their employees, gender representation and compensation has been praised over the rest of the industry and some of that praise is definitely deserved, however, it is also true that most people simply refused to dig too deep and perhaps, destroy their idealistic image of the studio.
Hayao Miyazaki is known for his rude demeanor and having no filter. The man has also openly insulted and dismissed his son’s work (Whom he also neglected as a child), giving this pearl when interviewed about the movie his own child made:
It’s good that he made one movie. With that, he should stop.
And recently, it was revealed that director Isao Takahata was increadibly difficult to deal with when working with him. Reports of the man angrily lashing out at staff members surfaced and it seems his work demands may have contributed (If not caused) the death of animation director Yoshifumi Kondo. The man led to his employee being overworked and exhausted (According to Toshio Suzuki) and failed to ever thank or appreciate the work of his staff. Important to note is that Takahata is no longer able to answer for these accusations and while there are enough reports and corroborating evidence to suggest the validity of the information, no definite proof has been given.
This, of course, is not really different than the situation at many other studios in Japan and while some are better than others, we’re not here to judge. Nor is this article open season on Studio Ghibli. It’s a perspective, one that has arguably been lacking when discussing this particular studio. It is a dangerous thing to idolise a studio, to place it on an impossible pedestal, as it allows abuse and problems to remain hidden where once they would have been addressed. These revelations haven’t diminished Ghibli’s work, they simply put the studio on equal footing with all the other players of the industry, the same players Miyazaki seems to look down upon.
We still don’t know everything, many horror stories are probably hiding behind many people’s favorite studio and a lot of context and truths are likely to never surface as well. I guess if there’s one thing we should take from all of this is that most studios appear to have their strong points but unfortunately, all of them are still afflicted by the same problems that plague the industry; and sooner or later, these problems will need to be addressed.
Source: Article Image: Wikipedia