Hayao Miyazaki’s Thoughts On The iPad

By Ishaan . July 17, 2010 . 6:20pm

Hayao Miyazaki A recent issue of “Neppu”, a Studio Ghibli-published news pamphlet, contains an interview with renowned director, Hayao Miyazaki. During the interview, in response to a reporter carrying an iPad, Miyazaki made his thoughts on the device heard.


Miyazaki, it turns out, feels the swiping gestures used to control the iPad look “strange”.


“For me, there is no feeling of admiration or no excitement whatsoever,” Miyazaki reportedly said about the iPad. “It’s disgusting. On trains, the number of those people doing that strange masturbation-like gesture is multiplying.” He recalls he felt similarly fed up when the trend of using cell phones and reading manga on trains broke out.


Miyazaki goes on to compare the iPad trend to the 1960s, where people carried cassette players with them. His problem, it would appear, is that the majority of people use technology only as consumers, and not to create or be productive. In fact, Miyazaki’s thoughts closely reflect those of Gundam creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino.


In the past, Miyazaki has revealed that he doesn’t own a computer. In reply to an interviewer inquiring as to whether or he used the Internet, he replied, “I don’t have a computer or fax. I don’t have a DVD player either and I forgot how to use a video recorder. I even seldom watch television.”


What about videogames? He’s tried playing a PC version of Shogi (a Japanese version of Chess) and lost. He believes that the CPU checks and counters all approaches, which isn’t fair. Naturally, Miyazaki is in no way involved with Ni no Kuni, Level 5’s upcoming PS3 and DS RPG, for which Studio Ghibli are providing the artwork and animation.

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  • goronyan

    “is that the majority of people use technology only as consumers, and not to create or be productive.”

    How can i be productive if i can’t consume? Can’t we do both?

    • SerasVictoria

      everyone consumes. EVERYONE. But he feels that everyone should also create. (at least this is what I read into it.) And unfortunately, most technology devices are geared towards increasing consumerism, while decreasing creativity.

      • goronyan

        i forgot this point of view, thanks

      • You nailed it. Though I would call it more a “contributing vs. consuming” problem rather than a “consumerism vs. creativity” problem.

        Technological advancements have lowered the barrier to “contributing” so much. It’s astounding and wonderful—and if Miyazaki isn’t willing or able to see that incredible upside to modern technology, that is honestly his loss.

        But those same advancements have lowered the barrier to “consuming” even further. So much so that more and more people are simply satisfying themselves with that instead of pushing themselves to contribute even the littlest things. And that’s not good.

  • Haha yeah i read this the other day, i personally prefer to have buttons, with touchscreen… it just doesn’t feels right… but i don’t really have anything against the people who like to touch… still,… i think the ipad is just… a fever because of the social popularity apple has the luck to be exploiting, its not that big of a deal, when i saw that, i just saw an itouch/iphone but bigger.

    Anyway, i also think he is partly wrong, closing your mind to new stuff will likely limit the… limits one can have of creating, and the best way to create something, is to create something a lot of people would enjoy, this would be hard if you are not following any trend of what is happening now. And now is even worst, since everything now is technology related…

    Like… making really funny joke, but it wont make many people laugh, because comedy evolves as fast as technology, if you are not following what is making people laugh the most, then you are screwed…

  • Guest

    It is quite admirable to think of him as believing everyone has the talent to be truly creative, but many of us do not have the talent. What is so wrong about experiencing others’ creations? He should tell his fans to be productive by not watching his things.

    • There are no bad ideas, only bad execution. If everyone took the time to learn the craft, everyone would be good artists.

      • Guest

        And people who have no interest in being productive in their hobbies are in the wrong? Sorry, being productive in work is important, but many of us do not have the interest in being “productive” in their free time.

        • You don’t have to take the time to learn an art, but saying you have no interest is selling yourself short. I don’t think Mr. Miyazaki would be happy to hear that.

  • I disagree with Miyazaki on this one. The iPad is mainly used as a digital newspaper right now (great if you enjoy reading long articles–like anything Tim Rogers writes), but its size is conducive to social interaction and sharing–part of the design and development process.

    Yeah, it’s horrible at content creation in the traditional sense, but we have other tools for that right now. I’d like to see the simplicity of the iPad merged with the sensitivity of a Wacom tablet.

  • Joanna

    Why do people create? Why do they try so hard and make things? On one level it’s self-satisfaction, on another it’s the satisfaction of their fellow human being. What’s wrong with people enjoying other peoples fruits of labor?

    And I doubt these people aren’t productive…maybe just not in the way he wants them to be. But that’s more the fault of the system than the people. Art and Literature doesn’t have any importance in our society. You get an Bachelor of Arts and you need to have connections or luck to land the dream job Miyazaki has. I really respected this man before. He made Nausicaa, one of my favourite manga and heroines. Yet he seems to be putting too much blame on people. We can’t be creative if creativity is squashed, spat on, and thrown away.

    Lastly, there is nothing wrong with having time to relax. I would go insane if I had to “work” all the time and only had breaks to either sleep, eat, or clean myself.

    I am disappointed.

    • I think you and a lot of the other commenters here are taking his words to an illogical extreme, and missing the essential point by either deriding him or being offended by his ludditism.

      Like SerasVictoria said, he’s not demanding that you NEVER consume anything—he himself says that from time to time, he watches television. I assure you, the man does things other than draw. (I would venture a guess that he is an avid reader.)

      What Miyazaki wants is for people to do more than simply consume. This does not mean you need to strive to become a famous artist or writer. Just do something. Anything. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of sitting around and admiring the works of others without ever bothering to express yourself.

      Think of Roger Ebert—he’s made a career of admiring the works of others, but he also contributes by expressing his opinion in reviews. It can be as simple as that!

      • Joanna

        Maybe I wouldn’t have thought him such a hypocrite if he did not disregard a piece of technology that could be useful for storing stuff digitally and reading like that instead of creating print media and wasting trees and filling up land fills.

        For heaven’s sake, he called using the iPad masturbating! So reading is fine if you have a physical book, but not on the iPad?! What the heck is up with that kind of logic. I went this extreme because I cannot comprehend why he has such as distaste for the iPad. If you’re going to complaining about consuming on the iPad, why stop there? Why not decry people for reading at all? What is the difference?!

        Sorry, but I don’t think I’m overreacting. It is Miyazaki that it overreacting. And I assure you, I still love his manga, but my respect for this man has just plummeted.

        • If you’re going to pull out environmental arguments, the recycling of parts like that giant lithium-ion battery comprising 20% of the iPad’s mass is very uncommon compared to say, recycling paper. (Which, I should note, is biodegradable.) http://blogs.computerworld.com/node/3285 And since most lithium is not being recycled, it’s being mined anew. Mining requires deforestation, just like wood pulp manufacturing. Only since wood isn’t the desired resource, no new trees are planted to replace the old ones. In addition, commercial lithium mining is a pretty nasty process: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article…Miyazaki IS overreacting. As I said before, the man is a luddite who refuses to acknowledge even the good things about modern technology. That’s his loss. But there are still environmental problems with even our “greenest” technologies…and the iPad in particular is hardly some sort of technological messiah, or even a revolutionary device. It is a very large iPhone. And there are a lot of people who aren’t caught up in the—ahem—circlejerk surrounding it, to make a crude joke.Losing respect for someone because they’re not all hot and bothered about this latest new gadget (one that is extremely expensive, forces you to work within Apple’s closed and oft-censored garden, has no USB ports, and a touchscreen inferior to anything Wacom’s made in almost a decade) doesn’t seem like a good idea. That’s just my view, though, and I’ll quit bugging you in an attempt to sway your opinion now. :) No hard feelings, I hope.

          • Joanna

            But batteries can be recycled. We have special battery recycle bins and the like. If people are throwing them in the trash, it’s because they aren’t informed about the fact that they shouldn’t be doing that and that batteries can be recycled. Either way, I do get that neither is good, but I guess I was just thinking that in general people read/buy more print media than iPads. (It would be better of course, if Apple made these things to last….)Anyways, I wasn’t really thinking iPad was this messiah of technology. I was just excited that this technology is making it’s way here and what it could usher in with decreasing the amount of newspaper/magazines and other throw-away print media. (I actually dislike Apple because I believe they specifically make their products to break within a few years. I know there is a specific term for that, but I just can’t recall it right now.)Although, I do give you that point about mining. There obviously needs to be a better solution to that. One way or another, because Lithium isn’t renewable.I didn’t lose my respect for him because of that. I guess I never made it clear. It is the way he phrased it. Not very classy (point fingers, using insults). He could have stated the same thing is a different way and I wouldn’t have been so let down by him.And no hard feelings. I’m actually quite difficult to anger/offend. Not that you angered me. xD

            edit: I think I should make this clear: by pointing fingers, I mean, singling out a specific group of people for no apparent reason, while another group of people does the exact same thing. That is, he singled out iPad users. It would have been better if he simply talked about being caught up in technology.

        • Yeshua49

          Well for the iPad part I think he just don’t like it and he is trolling about it, I have to agreed with you it’s a shame, thechnology is not bad it’s people way of using it that can be potentialy bad.

          For a digital distribution for manga, I would love to see that it could be way less costly than in his current form and they would be able to add bonus just like DVD has bring bonus with movie like showing the process of creation of the manga itself to stimulate people’s creativity maybe^_^, sadly I think the industry is fearing piracy and won’t do such a move any time soon.

    • Aoshi00

      I think it’s just his personality, the type who is critical of himself and also expecting a lot from others, it could be both a bad and good thing.

      I think I could understand what his beef is.. remember blackberries were only used for business purpose a few years ago (seems like ages now), now even kids and old women have them, blogging on their facebook, texting, etc, everybody w/ their head down staring at their ipod, when they sit, when they walk, when they eat, when they are on the escalator, when they’re waiting for the elevator. It’s like the evil Solitaire in office that comes w/ Windows or something :)

      • Joanna

        Alright, Aoshi. I can see that now. But even then, I think the problem is the society. And not to get too political on this, I’ll leave that term society as empty. But my point is, if you don’t nurture in someone the passion for art, they aren’t going to be receptive to it. Sure, some people are born with this drive to paint/write/whatever. But not all of us are.

        Rather than decrying this habit, I think someone like Miyasaki should be thinking of ways to engage the new technology to make people more creative. Hell, Ghibi/Miyazaki should have free art lessons to encourage that in children and teens if he is really serious about this. People are like plants, they need to be nurtured. If you don’t nurture them, it’s not surprising they don’t grow into everything they can be. And blaming this on technology isn’t going to solve the problem.

        • Aoshi00

          I understand what you mean. He tells kids to go out and play, maybe we should do that and not go to the theater to see his movies because that would be “consumption” as well. Not all of us are professionals in the field of movies or manga. I didn’t go to film school, but when I watch movies, I appreciate the story, acting, music, filmography, etc. Actually I was very big on drawing up until college, reading manga inspire me to draw so much fanarts back then. I think he’s just senile and being overcritical of things that he finds foreign (the hate he has for ipad), because technology seems intimidating to him (old people in general). Imagine Miyazaki w/ an iPad, “What do I press, wait, no buttons! you scroll here, shoot, the screen flied over there.. screw it, this is too advanced for me, no good niks who made these whachamcallit corupting our youths” lol..

          I do understand where he’s coming from, but part of his message contradicts w/ his life-long goal, digital media saves paper, and to think that he was trying to drill the environmental message into our brains all these years :)…

    • Yeshua49

      I don’t think he is against relaxation but against people who like consume and never ever have a single though of creation, I don’t how it is in other country but it France at least people complain a lot when they think something is wrong but they will never act to change anything they will just complain and they always say it is not to them to do this work at a point that I feel shame to be French.

      Also there is a lot of way of creation, for exemple in this website we consume new by reading them and we are creative by making comments where we put our though and reflection, well it’s not a higt level of creation but like you said we can’t all of us be like Hayao Miyazaki but we can product a little like here by fan community and in our society via our everyday behavior. This like that I have understand Hayao Miyazaki’s words.

      • Joanna

        I have nothing against that. In fact that is my view as well. I love to draw in my spare time.

  • Aoshi00

    I know it’s deeper than this, but this is mostly people of old age being resistant to new stuffs because they just can’t/refuse/don’t bother to keep up. I remember in high school my Eng. teacher was a PhD. but he could barely work a VCR. I don’t think it’s good to shun new things because the world continues to evolve, for better or worse (such as everyone being clued to the internet, could be productive or “addictive”), but the world wide web has changed the way we spread info quickly. Is daily newspaper in print necessarily better than the 24/7 news on the net? Even computer programmers need to continue learning new things. What about Pixar’s computer animation, what’s his view on it?Also this is really ironic, I thought Miyazaki’s every movie was environment-this environment that. So isn’t digital media/device like iPad supposed to save paper in the long run, decreasing the need to mow down forest? Even playing shougi w/ the iPad btwn two real people could work since the tablet is so big, you just don’t need the chess pieces and the board, again not wasting as much wood. Of course it won’t feel as good, but saving the environment means sacrifices right? Personally I have never been too big a fan of him after his earlier movies.. I rather like Takahata Isao of Ghibli.

    • Joanna

      Yeah, exactly Aoshi. When I saw the iPad I was excited that digital could actually reduce the amount of paper we use (although, digital distribution need to iron out lots of problems first) yet also reproduce that feeling of reading a book. Yet Miyazaki seems to completely ignore this. This is the root of my disappointment in him.

  • vrakanox

    I’d just like to say that I just finished watching Princess Mononoke and I find the fact this was posted to be quite ironic.

    That is all.

    • fs

      What’s ironic about it? Do you mean coincidental? Because that’s a different thing from ironic.

  • Scallion

    Miyazaki used to be a big socialist. I don’t see why a statement like this would surprise anybody.
    Things like Ipads are simply status symbols, anyway.

  • Pichi

    I don’t know, I mean nowadays its much easier for someone to express themselves thanks to technology. From making apps and easily upload a video to a simple blog post. Its become easier to find a place that supports your creative subject and to have an audience of your work.

    • Joanna

      Yeah, I agree. I think Miyazaki is ignoring just how much technology is helping people get their ideas out there and only looking at the negative side of it.

  • zhemos

    He’s lying to make himself look sophisticated. He’s a moe fan, and plays MMO’s 24/7 while reading manga on his iPad.

    • puchinri

      Lol, that was an ironic answer considering how he feels about moe. But that was a while back, so I wonder how he feels about it now.
      (Were you specifically referrencing that~?)

  • karasuKumo

    It’s a bit sad really, to me this is ignorance and his double standards. I’m sure it was fine when he was young for him to like and use what new technology he pleased, but because people are doing what he did faster because of technology now he dislikes it. If people in the past didn’t bother to invent these non-creative products he wouldn’t be known as well as he is now. I say show him a graphics tablet lol

    • Aoshi00

      No disrespect toward the master, but I tell you, he’s gone senile (or has been for a while). He’s reminiscing the so called “good old days”, “back then we did things this way, not like you bunch of no good niks that have life so easy now”. I suppose if he isn’t critical of himself or others this way, he wouldn’t be such a successful manga artist and director. I have a friend who works herself to death (the nature of her job demands it), and she always complains to me how everyone in her office is lazy and just gets by doing the least amount of work (not that I disagree w/ her, I’m bugged by lazy people too who would defer any responsibility the first chance they get, but I try not to let it get to me), but she set the bar very high for both herself and those who work /w her. I remember my grandpa (RIP) would tell me back then he walked miles everyday, how the harsh experiences during the war, and people each generation have it easier than the last. He might sound redundant, but I respected the man and loved his regaling me w/ his adventures :) But Miyazaki-san, what’s the deal w/ not using seiyuu anyway, his insistence or Ghibli’s? How come masterpieces like Nausicaa, Laputa, Totoro, Kiki, movies that I’ve watched time an again, could use seiyuu and not the works after them? For me that greatly diminished the overall quality of his later movies.. the rather amateur voice work of Chihiro (I know she’s a kid), Kimura Takuya the actor as Howl, Kamaguchi Tomoko the actress as Lisa in Ponyo, come on, why hate voice actors who can act and convey your story/chars better, enhancing your vision? At times I do feel I’m falling behind the times too, I can’t keep on top of technology as I used to (I keep myself informed to get by), but I also don’t care much about facebook or tweeter, which are things that I’m not that crazy about.

      • karasuKumo

        I couldn’t agree more, the whole point in technology is to make things easier for future generations. Hayao would have had things easier than the generations before him in his “good days” it’s only natural. My grandpa would use modern technology if he wasn’t partially sighted, I made him play the Wii and he was over the moon with the boxing although he said it was a bit unresponsive (he was a boxer). He told me that I wouldn’t have these products without his generation and the generations before him so it was his responsibility to make sure we enjoy it.

        I love Nausicaa and the valley of the wind, It’s my favourite Ghibli film. I have to agree that seiyuu do a better job because that is their job. Seems to me that he is becoming stubborn because of his pride.

        I don’t care much for social networking either I’d rather see the people to be honest lol

  • puchinri

    I don’t always agree with Miyazaki, and I only partially agree here, but I think he has a good view and sees a bigger picture. And it’s a shame that people aren’t entirely seeing his message so clearly (I’m glad some are though).

    I don’t care for the iPad itself, but I know I drown myself in technology. But after a while, I stopp watching TV too, in part because I wasn’t amused and I wasn’t inspired. And I think I can see where he’s going with this. Lately, things do produce a very ‘consume vs create’ mindset, and I think the iphone and such is a good example. What scares me about these things though is how mindless they get. Like certain iphone apps that feed unhealthy fetishes or objectify, and television shows that do absolutely nothing for you.

    But I can see how Miyazaki himself might be missing the point. But I don’t think he’s against technology. Rather yet, I think the technology in his works are interesting and come in two ways. The technology that is convenient and amazing, but destroys, and the technology that is creative and versatile, and that works for/with nature. I think if the technology were different now and more versatile to people (allowing creation and consumption), then maybe he wouldn’t be so critical.

    • RupanIII

      I find Miyazaki’s opinions refreshing, honestly. Sure technology has its benefits, but let’s be honest, most of the time all the Twitter/iPhone/social networking/media/tech-focus in today’s society amounts to mindless navel-gazing and increasing commodification of things that used to be organic. One of the things I really enjoy about Miyazaki’s movies is that they portray more organic, innocent and un-ironic worlds. Genuine communication, a sort of magic and appreciation of the natural world with long, contemplative takes, etc.

      Now I’m not demonizing technology, I’m pretty immersed in it myself, and incidentally I have an electronic reader (for reading. that’s one thing I don’t like with the iPad, there are too many distractions :P). But as a collective I think we’ve forgotten that there are others ways to view the world than thru the tech/consumer-lens, and I like that Miyazaki realizes that and goes against the grain.

      • puchinri

        I do appreciate them and find them refreshing. I think maybe the way I read it makes me not agree entirely, but I do like what he says and feels someone needs to say it (especially someone like him). And I think you really hit the nail on the head. A lot of the new media and electronics are so without purpose (and some just cause harm). And that’s part of why I love the worlds Miyazaki presents.

        That’s very true, and I wish it was something more people realized and considered more often. (I can understand cutting down tree use with digital reading, but if you use don’t use any renewable sources, etc at all in the process that defeats the purpose).

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