Isao Takahata

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Isao Takahata
Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata (高畑 勲 Takahata Isao?) (29 October 1935 - 5 April 2018) was a long-time colleague of Miyazaki and another leading head of Studio Ghibli. Unlike Miyazaki, Takahata started his career as a director from the beginning. Born on 29 October 1935 in Ujiyamada (now Ise) in Mie prefecture, he graduated from the most prestigious university in Japan, Tokyo University, and joined the newly founded animation studio Toei Doga in 1959 (an interesting career move, to say the least).

He and Miyazaki became friends through the animators' union at Toei Doga, which he vice-chaired and Miyazaki chaired. His first movie, Prince of the Sun: The Great Adventure of Hols (1968) is still considered one of the greatest examples of Japanese animation. Miyazaki worked as an animator for this movie, providing numerous ideas. Takahata and Miyazaki continued working as a director-animator team for many great animated masterpieces, including Lupin III, Heidi, 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, and Anne of Green Gables.

When Tokuma approached Miyazaki about making the Nausicaä manga into a movie, the only condition Miyazaki requested was to have Takahata as the producer. This was the first time Takahata worked as a producer but he did a great job. He also produced the next Miyazaki movie, Laputa in 1986, then directed his first Ghibli movie, Grave of the Fireflies in 1988. Since then, he has directed Only Yesterday (1991), Pom Poko (1994), My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999), and The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013). Takahata also worked as the music director of Kiki's Delivery Service and as the producer of I Can Hear the Sea.

He died at a Tokyo hospital on 5 April 2018 due to lung cancer.


Here is a link to a page listing books written by, or about, or contributed to by Takahata: