Miyazaki Already Brainstorming New Film Post-The Boy and the Heron

The assumption has been that The Boy and the Heron would be Miyazaki Hayao’s last film. Now, Ghibli VP Nishioka Junichi suggests otherwise.

Unseen Japan
6 min readSep 10, 2023

By Noah Oskow

Superdeformed image of Aosagi/Grey Heron from the Boy and the Heron next to the words "Not the End?"

The idea of animation maestro Miyazaki Hayao retiring has been a bit of a meme for well over a decade. Think back to 2013, when, at the age of 72 and hot on the heels of the release of his film The Wind Rises, he announced his retirement; his third such declaration. At the time, many reacted with a wry sense of disbelief. Net users in Japan and the world over made comments along the following lines: “How many times is this now?” “I’m looking forward to his next film post-retirement.”

Still, the general assumption has been that Miyazaki’s recently released The Boy and the Heron (君たちはどう生きるか, lit. “How Do You Live”) would be his real-and-actual swan song. After all, the director is now 82 years old, and Heron took him nearly a decade to make.

But you know what they say about assumptions.

Unlike in 1997, 2001, and 2013, Miyazaki has made no actual announcement regarding retiring. And now, following Heron‘s North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, we have word that…