Famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki may have retired from making feature films, but it’s not because he’s run out of clearly defined ideas or things to say. In a recent interview, the animation icon was asked for his thoughts about the recent terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and gave, in no uncertain terms, his opinion about the decision to publish the content cited as the trigger for the incident.
Earlier this week, the 74-year-old Miyazaki sat down for an interview with TBS Radio. While discussing a host of other topics, the conversation turned to the tragic events of January 7, when two terrorists stormed the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, killing 12 and injuring 11 during the assault.
Miyazaki is both an outspoken pacifist and a determined creator who’s not afraid to buck the system or ruffle a few feathers in bringing his vision to the screen. That combination of personality traits does not, however, mean that he agrees with the sort of no-holds barred artistic expression that has served as the underlying principle of the French magazine’s content decisions.
The January 7 attack is being considered an act of retaliation for Charlie Hebdo’sdepictions of Muhammad, a practice frowned upon by many of the Islamic faith, militant fundamentalists in particular. So how does Miyazaki feel about the drawings in question?
In his own words:
“I think it’s a mistake to caricaturize the figures venerated by another culture. You shouldn’t do it.”
Unlike some of his films, which end on an indecisive note or try to simultaneously hold onto two contrasting viewpoints, Miyazaki makes no attempt to soften his sentiment. That’s not to say he feels you have to treat your own culture with kid gloves, though. Following his condemnation of Charlie Hebdo’s illustrations, he continued on to assert, “Instead of doing something like that, you should first make caricatures of your own country’s politicians.”