“I still am not used to this feeling”
Since the passing of animation giant Isao Takahata last week, the Ghibli director’s colleagues, friends, and fans have offered their heartfelt condolences and memories. One man who has arguably worked with Takahata the longest is fellow acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, but he hasn’t yet released a statement regarding his friend’s death.
Those who have followed Miyazaki’s career are familiar with his usual bluntness, even to those he respects. While at times this bluntness is sometimes framed as a coldness or ego on Miyazaki’s part, Sponichi Annex is reporting that Miyazaki’s silence on his friend’s death is due to overwhelming shock, not indifference. According to the newspaper, Miyazaki said “I still am not used to this feeling,” while showing a sense of immense loss of his close friend.
Takahata died due to lung cancer at 1:19 a.m. on Thursday at the Teikyo University Hospital at the age of 82. He and Miyazaki worked together at Toei Animation in the 1960s where both men worked within the animation studio’s worker’s union as vice president and secretary, respectively. The pair would work on Horus, Prince Of The Sun, Takahata’s feature film directorial debut, before leaving Toei in 1971 to form Studio Ghibli.
That relationship might best be represented in several behind-the-scene’s documentaries like Mami Sunada’s The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness and The Making of Only Yesterday. Takahata, who Miyazaki referred to as “Paku-san” for his habit of finishing off breakfast in the office, was at one point described by Miyazaki as both his most trusted and frustrating colleague.
Studio Ghibli will hold a grand farewell gathering in remembrance of Takahata on May 15. Takahata’s family is holding a family-only wake and funeral service and are politely refusing all offers of messages or gifts of condolence.