Having It Both Ways: Making Children Films an Adult Matter in Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro

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Miyazaki Hayao's fourth feature length film, My Neighbor Totoro (1988), became an instant popular and critical success which proved fundamental in establishing both Miyazaki's and the Studio Ghibli's reputation as producers of the finest Japanese animation of the last two decades, a position confirmed by Miyazaki's triumph at the Berlin Film Festival this year. My Neighbor Totoro, like most Miyazaki's films, is centered on the world of children, and usually is marketed and discussed as a children's film. However, the film has also proven extremely successful with the international audience for Japanese animation, one that is characterized by (and often denigrated for) its preference of more mature, or definitively adult, subject matter.

Keywords: Japanese; Miyazaki Hayao; My Neighbor Totoro; animation; children's films; feature film

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ac.14.1.45_1

Affiliations: Yale University

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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