Studio Ghibli, the Japanese Animation Studio known for films such a Princess Mononoke and the Oscar Winning Spirited Away, as well as their latest effort When Marnie Was There, their final before halting production following the retirement of founder Hayao Miyazaki, has caused controversy after producer Yoshiaki Nishimura attempted to explain the lack of female working in Japanese Animation Studios by confessing that he was more likely to hire a man than a woman because, in his opinion, women are realists and men are idealists, a quality he says is essential to the making of animation and fantasy films.
“Unlike live action, with animation we have to simplify the real world. Women tend to be more realistic and manage day-to-day lives very well. Men on the other hand tend to be more idealistic – and fantasy films need that idealistic approach. I don’t think it’s a coincidence men are picked.” said Nishimura.
The comments came as a surprise to fans of the studio, which is known for pushing gender boundaries, especially since founder and animation legend Hayao Miyazaki had this to say about the female characters the studio wants to create before his retirement in 2014;
“Many of my movies have strong female leads – brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a saviour. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.”
The comments further highlight the equality issues facing Hollywood today, with still only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, having taken home the Oscar for Best Director in the 88 years since the Academy Awards first awarded it.
What do you think of Nishimura’s comments? Does he have a point, or does he just further highlight the negative perceptions Hollywood has of women in creative control? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix, or in the comments below.