Exclusive Interview|"Heron" Toshio Suzuki talks about Hayao Miyazaki: Walk with him one more time

    "This is much scarier than our previous cooperation."

    "Yeah, I thought it couldn't be done."

    This is the conversation between Toshio Suzuki and Hayao Miyazaki that was played at this year's Oscars after "How Do You Want to Live" won the Best Animated Feature Film?

    Before starting this work, Hayao Miyazaki held a high-profile press conference to announce his retirement. Not long after, he gave Suzuki Toshio a new project and said he wanted to make a new work. Toshio Suzuki refused in his heart at first, but when he saw the expression on his old man’s face that said, “I just want to make this animation,” he decided to go with him one more time.

    "What kind of life do you want to live" poster

    The production cycle of "What Kind of Life Do You Want to Live", which will be released in mainland China on April 3, lasted seven years. Hayao Miyazaki said frankly, "After completion, I will only be left physically and mentally exhausted."

    This film has always been quite mysterious. Whether it was previously shown at international film festivals or released in Japan, Hayao Miyazaki insisted on "zero publicity". He himself did not attend any public appearances about the film, and hoped that the audience would enter his film dream purely without expectations.

    As Hayao Miyazaki's first new film released in China, Ghibli gave Chinese fans "special treatment." As a close friend of Hayao Miyazaki for most of his life, Studio Ghibli Chairman and Producer Toshio Suzuki came to China specifically to promote the film. Not only did he reveal to the Chinese audience the interpretation codes hidden in Hayao Miyazaki's new work at the premiere, , also personally supervised and planned the world’s first stop of the Ghibli Immersive Exhibition.

    Toshio Suzuki

    During his visit to China, Toshio Suzuki accepted an exclusive interview with reporters from The Paper. From the behind-the-scenes story of the production of "What kind of life do you want to live", he talked about the life of knowing and cherishing each other with director Hayao Miyazaki.

    Hayao Miyazaki's life movie, dedicated to his mother, best friends and descendants

    "What Kind of Life Do You Want to Live" is Hayao Miyazaki's second Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature Film after "Spirited Away". It tells the story of a young real boy who forms a new family with his father and stepmother after his mother is buried in a fire. . Zhenren, who was deeply saddened, was gloomy and lonely. By an accident, he followed a talking heron into the mysterious tower, entered the fantasy "world of life and death", and began an incredible adventure...

    "What kind of life do you want to live" has won awards.

    Hayao Miyazaki, who had originally announced his retirement, picked up painting again after many years, claiming that he was "prepared to die while making this movie." He projected his personal experience on the real protagonist, and the movie condensed Hayao Miyazaki's The experience and insights of his 83-year-old life are regarded as Hayao Miyazaki's "life movie". Suzuki Toshio also said in the interview: "This can be said to be the director's own childhood confession."

    Real person projection of Hayao Miyazaki's own unhappy childhood

    The time background is set during World War II. The young boy Zhenmao lost his mother and behaved excessively politely in order to cover up his helpless and alienated feeling that he did not want to say a word. Unhappy childhood memories and missing maternal love laid the foundation for Miyazaki's lifelong creations. He has always used various fantasy worlds to heal his childhood, and there is always a warm and desperate embrace in his animations.

    Symbolizing mother’s fire beauty and real person’s embrace

    Hayao Miyazaki's late mother holds a very important place in his heart, and many of his female characters are based on her. The young girl Shida and her mother-in-law Dora in the early "Castle in the Sky" are two sides of the mother. The mother who struggled with the disease in "My Neighbor Totoro", Grandma Chen in "Ponyo on the Cliff", "Howl's Moving Castle" "The Sophies in "The Movie" all have the shadow of their mother. This time, Zhenren went to a mysterious different world, in which Huomei, who repeatedly resolved crises, was also the incarnation of his mother.

    Suzuki Toshio once described such a scene in his book——

    One day, Mr. Miyazaki said this:

    "Suzuki, I will definitely die at the age of seventy-three. Because my mother passed away when she was seventy-three... When I die, I will be able to see her in that world. I should tell her first then What is it?"

    Toshio Suzuki wrote in the book, "Mr. Miyazaki was not joking, he was the kind of person who would seriously think about these issues. He was already sixty-six years old at the time, and perhaps he wanted to prepare himself mentally for death. It's just that He thought so deeply that he fell into a slump.”

    "What kind of life do you want to live" poster

    Later, after Ghibli publicly announced that it would produce "How Do You Want to Live?", although he could not reveal the content of the film, Suzuki Toshio couldn't help but share in the book, "Just looking at the storyboards, I have to say what Hayao Miyazaki is." It's Hayao Miyazaki, like a boy who will never grow up. Seeing him working energetically in the painting room, I can't help but sigh. He must not be willing to use realist works like "The Wind Rises" as his own It’s time to call it a day in your film career, the essence of Hayao Miyazaki is still fantasy.”

    In addition to himself and his mother, Hayao Miyazaki also transformed many of his close friends into vivid cartoon images in the animation. Another translation of the film is "The Heron and the Boy", in which the heron symbolizes Suzuki. Toshio. As a more rational Heron than the protagonist, this character seems cunning and dangerous, but in fact is clumsy and sincere at heart. He is an important partner who leads and accompanies the real person through the entire adventure.

    Suzuki Toshio's incarnation heron (it didn't look like this when it first appeared)

    This animation has been in production for seven years, and many changes have taken place in the world. Toshio Suzuki told The Paper that during the production of the film, Isao Takahata passed away due to illness, which was a huge blow to Hayao Miyazaki. "In the past seven years, the most important thing for Director Hayao Miyazaki was the death of Mr. Takahata. Takahata was his teacher, his friend, and his partner. For Miyazaki, Takahata was Isao was the most important person. His death had a great impact on Miyazaki."

    Hayao Miyazaki delivers a speech at Isao Takahata's funeral, with Toshio Suzuki in the background

    The "tower owner" uncle symbolizes Hayao Miyazaki's "life mentor" Isao Takahata in his animation career. In the film, the real person refuses to inherit his uncle's legacy. Suzuki Toshio said "this is a very critical scene". This refusal It was a very difficult decision for Miyazaki. It was also in this life movie that Hayao Miyazaki finally completed his farewell to Isao Takahata.

    The "tower owner" uncle symbolizes Isao Takahata

    Although he lamented that seven years was a long time, Toshio Suzuki said that he had prepared for Hayao Miyazaki for longer. "I first thought that this movie must take a long time. I expected it to take ten years. I really wanted to see what it would be like if it took ten years to make a movie." Suzuki Toshio said, because at that time Miyazaki Jun has announced his retirement and decided to come back to make a movie. "If we make the same production level as before, it will be boring. Under such circumstances, we must make something different from before." He even felt a little resentful. "It's over in seven years, which is quite short," Di said.

    In the interview, Toshio Suzuki revealed that since the production of "Princess Mononoke" (1997), he has been able to feel that Hayao Miyazaki is a bit "old" and that he cannot keep up with his physical strength and energy when painting. As for the heavy topics such as history, life and death discussed in the film, Toshio Suzuki also felt the urgency expressed by Hayao Miyazaki - "We are both older, and in our ordinary lives, conversations about life and death are very important. Many. At this age, friends around us will gradually leave. Taking their death as an opportunity, we often have conversations about life and death."

    Real person and uncle

    Two years before the film started to be produced, Hayao Miyazaki hoped to tell his grandson through this film: "Grandpa is about to go to another world, but he left you this film." Suzuki Toshio told reporters that he The 6-year-old grandson brought his good friends to his home. After watching the movie, the children felt they understood it and were very happy. He was also pleased with this.

    As the "masterpiece" of Hayao Miyazaki in his later years, "What Kind of Life Do You Want to Live" continues Hayao Miyazaki's consistent innocence and imagination. For adults, it also has more grand and profound thoughts. Toshio Suzuki told the audience in a video interview in the immersive exhibition area, "At first glance, the theme may seem more serious and profound. After all, now is not a good enough era. How we get rid of or break out will become the modernity of the current era. theme, this movie answers this theme, and we very much hope that the audience will resonate with us after watching the movie."

    Ghibli Big Three: Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, Isao Takahata

    I have never "respected" each other in my life, but I will definitely accompany each other to the end.

    In the film, the young Masato and Heron often quarrel and "fall in love and kill each other." This is also the daily state of Miyazaki Hayao and Suzuki Toshio getting along. Suzuki Toshio said, "Many of the lines and the tone of voice are exactly the same as mine.

    The content of this table conversation, Suzuki said, actually happened in life.

    In Toshio Suzuki's book account of Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki's appearance is somewhat "annoying". More than 40 years ago, he worked at Tokuma Bookstore and invited Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki to be interviewed for the comic magazine "Animaga". Hayao Miyazaki, who answered the phone at that time, directly asked Suzuki, "You have to give me 16 pages." Suzuki Toshio only arranged 8 pages for the more senior Isao Takahata, "but he actually said It had to be 16 pages, and I thought to myself, who am I meeting?”

    According to Hayao Miyazaki, his first impression when meeting Toshio Suzuki was: "Why is there such a thieving guy?" When meeting Hayao Miyazaki himself, Suzuki sighed, "It perfectly fits the 'creator' I imagined. The image has a temperament of self-denial and asceticism.”

    The Ghibli "Big Three" when they were young: Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki

    "Ghibli" was also named by Hayao Miyazaki. It originally meant the hot wind blowing over the Sahara Desert. An Italian military reconnaissance aircraft in World War II was named after it. Hayao Miyazaki is a well-known aircraft fan. The naming of the studio symbolizes that Studio Ghibli will "make a whirlwind in the Japanese animation industry."

    In the 1980s, studios like Ghibli that produced theatrical animated feature films and only produced original animations were rare in the world, let alone in Japan. "When I founded Studio Ghibli, I was really at a loss because I didn't know how to run a company." And 40 years later, Ghibli has become a legend that affects the world.

    During the interview, we asked "Heron-kun", if you were asked to design a cartoon character for Hayao Miyazaki, what would he be? Suzuki thought about it carefully and said, it should be a fox, because he is really cunning.

    Starting from Hayao Miyazaki's famous work "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind", Toshio Suzuki has been deeply involved in the production of 11 of Hayao Miyazaki's animated feature films, and he often felt helpless that he was "kidnapped" by Hayao Miyazaki. From "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" to "Castle in the Sky" to "My Neighbor Totoro", "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away"... Hayao Miyazaki "gets bigger and bigger the more he plays". He continues to improve his creations and the cost is also getting higher and higher. The higher.

    The last film "The Wind Rises" won the box office championship in Japan that year, with box office revenue reaching 1.2 billion yen. "But even so, it was not able to make back the money. Every time I tell others about this, everyone will say I was shocked." At the same time, Ghibli was also producing "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" directed by another core member, Isao Takahata, which was also a large-scale production with extremely high investment. Suzuki Toshio later calculated his account, "The funds spent on these two works are enough to produce more than a hundred ordinary Japanese movies. The huge production funds can be regarded as pensions for the two of them."

    This time, Hayao Miyazaki thanked Toshio Suzuki for his financial support in the video broadcast at the Oscars. After hearing this, Toshio Suzuki was silent for three seconds and said a slightly helpless "yeah".

    Toshio Suzuki than Yeah

    In Suzuki Toshio's mind, "Let the two of them make the works they love to their heart's content. This is the guiding ideology that I have always adhered to." As for paying back, he said he doesn't care, "I only know that Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Xundu has put a lot of effort and emotion into creating such a work, and I will always owe them a favor. This is what I mean."

    Conversation between two people

    At the premiere in China, Toshio Suzuki shared with fans what Hayao Miyazaki said to him. "One day, Hayao Miyazaki came to my room out of the blue and said, 'I know!' I asked him what he knew, and he said, 'I know why we can be friends, because we don't respect each other at all!' "

    Suzuki Toshio complained, "Director Hayao Miyazaki is very willful, and it's troublesome to work with him!" "He always calls me in the middle of the night, even at three o'clock in the morning, just to tell me that he can't sleep, and I don't know how to do it." It was really sleepy at times.”

    In the released behind-the-scenes documentary, the audience can see Hayao Miyazaki's various "collapses" in the face of creative bottlenecks. Toshio Suzuki said that such moments have been happening to Hayao Miyazaki since he was young, "I will not be in his I help him when he breaks down and let him solve all creative problems by himself.”

    Hayao Miyazaki's creation will not always be smooth sailing.

    All he can do is provide unconditional support and companionship. During his trip to China, Toshio Suzuki also expressed his attitude to the fans, "Ever since I met Hayao Miyazaki, I decided to stay with him. The two of us will always be together. , until a person dies.”

    retire? He has no talent for "withering"

    "I think film directors can be divided into two categories. One type is directors who wither just right as they age, and the other type is directors who keep their heads down and press forward, no matter what withers or not. Hayao Miyazaki himself also wants to wither. But maybe he doesn’t have a withered talent, as long as he picks up the pen to paint, he will eventually be able to create works full of energy." Suzuki Toshio once wrote in the book.

    Hayao Miyazaki

    From "The Wind Rises" being characterized as Hayao Miyazaki's "final work" to his "comeback" ten years later with "What Kind of Life Do You Want to Live", the topic of Hayao Miyazaki's retirement has always attracted people's attention .

    And Suzuki Toshio has already been "desensitized" to the fact that Miyazaki Hayao is "retiring".

    In fact, when the production of his first work "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" was completed, Hayao Miyazaki once said: "I never want to be a director again. I don't want to lose friends because of this." Hayao Miyazaki entered the industry His original intention was to be an animator, and the part of being an animator was also the happiest and most exciting part of his creation. Therefore, when he said that he did not want to be a director, Suzuki felt that he meant it.

    Japan's Fuji TV "Wide Show" produced a "Chronology of Hayao Miyazaki's Retirement Declaration".

    After finishing "The Wind Rises", Hayao Miyazaki made it clear that he wanted to retire. Suzuki's mood was: "Thirty years have passed, and Mr. Miya has done his best. I don't want to force him to stay."

    Some media interviewed Toshio Suzuki about his current feelings after Hayao Miyazaki held a press conference. Suzuki also answered candidly that he had "a mixture of two emotions": on the one hand, he sincerely expressed his gratitude to him, on the other hand, he also felt as if he was The mood is relaxed because of it. "Compared with his youth, Hayao Miyazaki is indeed showing signs of decline. This is a technical issue. I have been dating Hayao Miyazaki for many years, and I can feel that he has indeed reached a limit. Therefore, I sincerely want to express my gratitude to him from the bottom of my heart." Hayao Miyazaki said: Thank you for your hard work, brother."

    At the end of the press conference, the two held their hands tightly and naturally. Looking back on this scene afterwards, Suzuki couldn't help but be surprised.

    On the 30th anniversary of the founding of Ghibli, Toshio Suzuki organized the "Big Three" to hold the first and last Ghibli talks. During the conversation at that time, the three of them talked about retirement again.

    Hayao Miyazaki said that he was indeed in an empty state at the time. "Even if an idea crosses my mind, I have no intention of writing it out. I just want to treat my angina and draw some comics with no deadline for entertainment."

    Director Isao Takahata said to Suzuki as if he had seen through everything, "Don't be too surprised if he announces his comeback one day."

    In 2013, at the press conference where Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement, two people thought they were really going to retire. Visual China Map

    During the interview, we asked Suzuki how it feels to work with a partner who has always had the attitude of "wanting to retire". Toshio Suzuki said that he deeply understood director Hayao Miyazaki's decision, "Being an animation director is really hard and tiring, so every time I do it with the idea of retiring after finishing it, this It is also very difficult for a creator." At the same time, Suzuki also told reporters that when he held a press conference that year, he smiled very happily. "Because I feel that when he retires, I can retire as well. But now I will no longer be deceived by Hayao Miyazaki!"

    Hayao Miyazaki can't retire

    "How Do You Want to Live" is the first new film by Hayao Miyazaki to be released in China. In recent years, Hayao Miyazaki has been active on the big screen in China. "Spirited Away," "My Neighbor Totoro," "Castle in the Sky" and "Porco Rosso" have all been re-released in China and achieved impressive box office results. At the end of this month, another old work of Hayao Miyazaki, "Howl's Moving Castle", will also return to the Chinese big screen.

    "Howl's Moving Castle" poster

    Ghibli's works transcend time and can still resonate with people of different eras, countries, and regions. Toshio Suzuki said, "Studio Ghibli is located in Koganei, a suburb of Tokyo, where we make movies. Hayao Miyazaki often says that stories that happen in Koganei will definitely happen in Tokyo, and probably in neighboring countries." Happened, this may be a resonance of the times.”

    Note: Part of the content of this article refers to the books "The Geniuses of Ghibli", "Partners of Ghibli", "Happiness at Work: On-site at Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata" and "Ghibli" written by Toshio Suzuki : Keep doing it.”


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