The works of renowned Japanese animist Hayao Miyazaki (Guardian, Nausicaa) are of great significance to educators. This essay considers their underlying values and the Asian culture in which they are steeped. It suggests that the bedrock of Miyazaki’s creations comes from an incomparable respect for simple, timeless values which suffuse his films and are conveyed by pivotal characters. Presented in mesmerizing, magical, mystical ways, presented within rational if self-referential frameworks, these values are the mainsprings and the key to engagement.
Miyazaki’s works are layered by his deconstruction of traditions. Infinite interpretations are possible but unambiguous political messages also abound. Messages however, are so elaborately housed as to make didacticism untenable and thinking a requirement.