Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿, Miyazaki Hayao, born January 5, 1941) is a retired Japanese film director, animator, mangaka, illustrator, producer, and screenwriter. Through a career that has spanned six decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as masterful storyteller and as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio. The success of Miyazaki's films has invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney, British animator Nick Park, and American director Steven Spielberg. He is also considered as one of the most popular and influential animators in the history of cinema.Born in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Miyazaki began his animation career in 1963, when he joined Toei Animation. From there, Miyazaki worked as an in-between artist for Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon where he pitched his own ideas that eventually became the movie's ending. He continued to work in various roles in the animation industry over the decade until he was able to direct his first feature film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro which was released in 1979. After the success of his next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, he co-founded Studio Ghibli, where he continued to produce many feature films besides during a 'temporary retirement' in 1997 following Princess Mononoke.While Miyazaki's films have long enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until Miramax Films released Princess Mononoke. Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan—until it was eclipsed by another 1997 film, Titanic—and the first animated film to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki returned to animation with Spirited Away. The film topped Titanic's sales at the Japanese box office, also won Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards and was the first anime film to win an American Academy Award.Miyazaki's films often contain recurrent themes, like humanity's relationship with nature and technology, pro-feminism, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. The protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women. While two of his films, The Castle of Cagliostro and Castle in the Sky, involve traditional villains, his other films like Nausicaä and Princess Mononoke present morally ambiguous antagonists with redeeming qualities. He co-wrote films The Secret World of Arrietty, released in July 2010 in Japan and February 2012 in the United States; and From Up on Poppy Hill release in July 2011 in Japan and March 2013 in the United States. Miyazaki's newest film The Wind Rises was released on July 20, 2013 and is planned for an international release. Miyazaki announced on September 1, 2013 that this would be his final feature-length film.In addition to his acclaimed film work, Miyazaki has created manga that have reached worldwide audiences.