Hayao Miyazaki retired from film making this year. His sixth retirement. There is speculation about the future of Studio Ghibli, the animation studio he set up with Toshio Suzuki and Isao Takahara in 1985. Miyazaki himself seems to think it’s all over. Suzuki is allegedly thinking about pressing pause on production. Who knows what will happen? My husband’s favourite Miyazaki film is Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind. Mine is Porco Rosso. His most famous are My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away. His last film for Ghibli was The Wind Rises. One of the reasons I like his films so much is that they have strong female characters. Miyazaki has said he has been influenced by the female children’s authors Ursula Le Guin, Eleanor Farjeon, Diana Wynne Jones and Philippa Pearce. Some of his films are influenced by his childhood experiences as the son of the director of a company that made rudders for aircraft. He was pretty much an unknown quantity in the West until Princess Mononoke got picked up for US release. Then he won an Oscar for Spirited Away. Here is he is toy form, designed by Martin Hsu of Disney and manufactured by Bigshot Toyworks.