Legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Takahata Isao, renowned for works like Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Only Yesterday, passed away at a hospital in Tokyo on Apr. 5.
Takahata was born in Ujiyamada (currently Ise), Mie prefecture on Oct. 29, 1935. His first venture as a director was the 1968 movie The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun, while he was an employee at Toei Animation. The project also included fellow Studio Ghibli great Miyazaki Hayao in the production team for scene design and key animation.
Works like Heidi, Girl of the Alps and Anne of Green Gables cemented his popularity in Japan in the 70s. He then went on to co-found Studio Ghibli with Miyazaki Hayao, Suzuki Toshio and Tokuma Yasuyoshi in 1985, having produced Miyazaki’s popular film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in the previous year.
Takahata’s first film for Studio Ghibli was Grave of the Fireflies, which was critically acclaimed worldwide for its portrayal of two siblings’ struggle to survive wartime Japan. In 2013, he directed The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.
His last involvement in an animated film was the 2016 Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch collaboration Red Turtle, in which he served as a producer.
Adapted with permission from Anime!Anime!