"In order to grow your audience, you must betray their expectations."
Miyazaki's father and uncle owned a large airplane factory, and airplanes were the first things he drew when he began to learn how; the influences of growing up around flying machines have resonated throughout his work since.
He began his career in the eary-'60s at Toei, but came to prominence writing and directing anime for television in the '70s; not only did he direct several episodes of the original Lupin III TV series, his first feature film was an action-adventure caper flick starring the Lupin characters: The Castleof Cagliostro (which is now an acknowledged classic, despite some wholesome liberties). In addition to his early writing and directing work, he also lent his artistic talents to numerous anime series during this time, providing - among other things - storyboards, scene design, organisation, and occasional key animation for the early entries into the World Masterpiece Theater series.
In 1984, Miyazaki and producer Isao Takahata scraped together a staff and enough financial support to make a feature film: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, based on a manga Miyazaki was writing at the time. It was so successful that Takahata and Miyazaki were able to set up their own studio -- Ghibli -- which has been their base of operations since.
It may be some indicator of the stature and craftmanship of Miyazaki to know that Disney has paid exorbitant amounts of money to be the exclusive distributor of his works in English on his terms, Nausicaa having previously suffered both a Macekre (Warriors of the Wind) and video game derivatives that completely missed the point. Legend has it that when he heard that Princess Mononoke was going to be altered for American audiences, he sent Miramax (the American-language version's producers) a katana with a two-word note attached: "No cuts". He has gained notoriety for being bitingly vocal in his own beliefs, making him a unique case of an executive who goes by his word; he explained that he was not present to accept the Academy Award in 2003 because America was at war with Iraq. He is also a feminist, which should make it no big surprise that nearly all of his films feature female main characters. He doesn't keep in touch in high-tech gadgets and consumer products, with only his most popular titles having CG elements in them... later shutting down his CG department entirely. In fact, he's quite critical to the high-tech materialistic society as he compared the iPad to "masturbation", as well as Moe and otaku culture, which he perceives as being overtly sexist, despite his being considered part of the Superflat art movement.
As of 2018, he stands as the only anime director to be recognized with Hollywood's highest honor: the Academy Award. His 2001 film Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003, improbably defeating both Ice Age and Lilo and Stitch; the film's unprecedented and unexpected Oscar win caused Disney to widen the film's theatrical release for a few weeks prior to the film's DVD release, and the film itself was widely applauded by film critics, anime fans, and animation enthusiasts alike. (Miyazaki would be nominated for, and lose, the same award three years later with Howl's Moving Castle.)
He enjoys Green Aesops and Scenery Porn, has an unexplained love for pigs, and he's also responsible for a fair amount of Nightmare Fuel. His films all have flying scenes with the exception of Princess Mononoke and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. He also has his own fan-made Religion.
- Hustle Punch, Toei Animation, 1965, key animation
- The King Kong Show, Toei/Rankin Bass, 1966, key animation
- Sally the Witch (60's version), Toei, 1966, key animation
- The Mouse On The Mayflower, Toei/Rankin Bass, 1968, key animation
- The Smokey Bear Show, Toei/Rankin Bass, 1969, key animation, Miyazaki's last production at Toei
- Lupin III series 1, Monkey Punch/TMS stationed at A-Productions, 1971, Key animation
- Panda Go Panda, TMS, 1972, Screenplay and key animation
- Vicky The Viking, Zuiyo Eizo (now knowed as Nippon Animation), 1974, key animation
- Alot of the World Masterpiece Theater (pre 1977), Zuiyo Eizo/Nippon Animation, key animation
- Lupin III series 2, Monkey Punch/TMS, 1977 (however, Miyazaki's episodes did not show up until 1980) stationed at Telecom Animation Film, director of the episodes #145 and #155
- Future Boy Conan, Nippon Animation, 1978, writer and director
- Ulysses 31 (pilot), TMS/DiC stationed at Telecom, 1980, key animation
- Tetsujin 28, TMS, 1980, key animation
- The New Adventures of Zorro, TMS/Filmation stationed at Telecom, 1981, Episode animation director
- Inspector Gadget (pilot), TMS/Dic stationed at Telecom, made in 1982 but did not aired until 1983, key animation
- The Littles, TMS/Dic stationed at Telecom, 1983, chief Telecom director during season 1 (Nobuo Tomizawa was the chief Telecom director during season 2) and episode animation director
- Sherlock Hound, TMS/RAI, 1982 (aired in 1984), director, 5 episodes (people tend to say 6 episodes, however, one of said episodes (The Sovereign Gold Coins) is really directed by Nobuo Tomizawa)
- Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
- Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
- My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
- Little Nemo in Slumberland (1989): He worked on the pre-production of the film, but considered it one of the worst experiences he ever had in his professional career.
- Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
- Porco Rosso (1992)
- Princess Mononoke (1997)
- Spirited Away (2001)
- Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008), aka Ponyo
- The Borrower Arrietty (2010): In this case he wrote the script but didn't direct it.
- From Up on Poppy Hill (2011): Hayao Miyazaki only served as scriptwriter; the movie was directed by his son, Goro Miyazaki.
- The Wind Rises (2013)
- How Do You Live? (in production, expected to be released in 2020)