Oscar-winning Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki speaks to the press in Tokyo on July 13, 2015.

Oscar-winning Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki speaks to the press in Tokyo on July 13, 2015.

Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP via Getty Images.

Japanese Filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki Breaks Hiatus For One Last Film

On Friday, dedicated fans of filmmaker and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki were first to see How Do You Live?. US Audiences have only a poster and a name to hint at Miyazaki's first film in a decade.

Japanese animator and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki has released How Do You Live?, his first film in ten years. On Friday morning (July 14), select theaters throughout Japan played the feature, which follows Miyazaki 2013 film The Wind Rises. As Miyazaki is 82-years-old, How Do You Live? is expected to be the filmmaker’s last project, completing an extensive career with additional works like the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Described by Ghibli as a “grand fantasy,” The 124-minute film was released with no trailers and limited publicity, which includes a single promotional poster. Translated into English from its Japanese title, How Do You Live? takes its name from the 1937 Genzaburo Yoshino-authored best-selling novel, which even makes an appearance in the film. When released to American audiences, the film will be titled The Boy and the Heron.

The film is said to focus on a boy who relocates to the countryside with his father after his mother’s death in wartime Japan. The boy meets a heron who takes him to an alternate universe, where details about his mother’s death are revealed.

In June, the film’s producer, Toshio Suzuki, spoke about not advertising HDYL? to halt excessive promotion. “I thought giving out too much information would reduce audience interest,” Suzuki said, per Nikkei Asia. “In this age of information technology, I thought that the lack of information itself would be entertaining.”

In 2021, nearly a decade following the release of Miyazaki’s 2013 film The Wind Rises, Ghibli said the filmmaker would be coming out of retirement to make “his final film, considering his age.”