Sunday, 20 March 2016

Hayao Miyazaki (EII): Personality Type Analysis

Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator, producer, and screenwriter. Through a career that has spanned five decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as a masterful storyteller and as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio. He is considered one of the most popular and influential animators in cinema.

Miyazaki’s works are characterized by the recurrence of progressive themes, such as environmentalism, pacifism, feminism, and the absence of villains. His films are also frequently concerned with childhood transition and a marked preoccupation with flight. Miyazaki’s narratives are notable for not pitting a hero against an unsympathetic antagonist. In Spirited Away, Miyazaki states “the heroine is thrown into a place where the good and bad dwell together. She manages not because she has destroyed the ‘evil’, but because she has acquired the ability to survive.” Even though Miyazaki sometimes feels pessimistic about the world, he prefers to show children a positive world view instead, and rejects simplistic stereotypes of good and evil. This philosophy of searching for multiplicity to resolve humanitarian issues is very R+I, however I believe that it is clear that Miyazaki emphasizes R more so than I. Thus, I2 is better fit for Miyazaki.

Miyazaki’s films often emphasize environmentalism and the Earth’s fragility. In an interview with The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot stated that Miyazaki believes much of modern culture is “thin and shallow and fake”, and he “not entirely jokingly” looked forward to “a time when Tokyo is submerged by the ocean and the NTV tower becomes an island, when the human population plummets and there are no more high-rises.” Growing up in the Shōwa period was an unhappy time for him because “nature – the mountains and rivers – was being destroyed in the name of economic progress.” Miyazaki is critical of capitalism, globalization, and their impacts on modern life. Commenting on the 1954 'Animal Farm animated film, he has said that “exploitation is not only found in communism, capitalism is a system just like that. I believe a company is common property of the people that work there. But that is a socialistic idea.” Nonetheless, he suggests that adults should not “impose their vision of the world on children.” This is a very F and E devaluing philosophy, projected to the audience to reflect Miyazaki's frequent use of R.

Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle feature anti-war themes. In 2003, when Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Miyazaki did not attend the awards show personally. He later explained that it was because he “didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq“. Hayao Miyazaki frequently makes evaluations based on good character and rejects the idea of even visiting a country that completely rejects the humanitarian values that Miyazaki wanted to teach in the first place. This solidifies the idea of Miyazaki having R1 and F4.

Miyazaki has been called a feminist by Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki, in reference to his attitude to female workers. This is evident in the all-female factories of 'Porco Rosso' and 'Princess Mononoke', as well as the matriarchal bath-house of 'Spirited Away'. Many of Miyazaki’s films are populated by strong female protagonists that go against gender roles common in Japanese animation and fiction. There's also a common theme of self-reliance in his films, in which the protagonist starts off avoiding responsibilities, but over time begins to learn to manage things themselves without depending on others to do basic chores. This is a good indication of P+S values in the films that Hayao creates, as a reflection of what he wants to better inform the audience about. 

"When I have the time, I like to go up to a cabin I have in the mountains. Sometimes friends will come by to visit me, but I also like to spend time alone. It reinvigorates me, hiking those mountain trails. After working on a film, it usually takes half a year for me to recover my mental and physical balance. I have to set aside time to recuperate. I guess when you add it all up, I'm not really working that many hours." I believe this indicates, at the very least valued S and increased attention towards adapting oneself to their external environment, instead of the converse which is an F thing to do. This is most likely a preference of S6 over F4.

Hayao Miyazaki actively attempts to make each scene in the movie count as a symbol of his internal feelings. This frequent evaluation and deep connection to one's personal feelings about something indicates heavily emphasized and valued R. "But there are two scenes in Spirited Away that could be considered symbolic for the film. One is the first scene in the back of the car, where she is really a vulnerable little girl, and the other is the final scene, where she's full of life and has faced the whole world. Those are two portraits of Chihiro which show the development of her character." Additionally, Hayao Miyazaki continues to describe himself as a very internal person and poor at expressing himself around others. This would perhaps solidify the idea of R1 and E7. "I was a shy boy who was not very good at expressing himself." I also think this quote also expresses his indifference towards E and preference towards R in general. "Entertaining a group of people is no better or worse than entertaining just one person and making that individual happy."

"Logic is using the front part of the brain, that's all. But you can't make a film with logic. Or if you look at it differently, everybody can make a film with logic. But my way is to not use logic. I try to dig deep into the well of my subconscious. At a certain moment in that process, the lid is opened and very different ideas and visions are liberated. With those I can start making a film. But maybe it's better that you don't open that lid completely, because if you release your subconscious it becomes really hard to live a social or family life." I also think is is clear that Hayao Miyazaki expresses his ardent dislike of E and F, disregarding the idea of imposing ideological beliefs and visions projected unto others. He shares his humanitarian insight of different societies and proposes the ideal good faith judgement and refrains from casting down upon others with harsh judgement. "I don't believe that adults should impose their vision of the world on children, children are very much capable of forming their own visions. There's no need to force our own visions onto them." "Pigs are creatures which might be loved, but they are never respected. They're synonymous with greed and debauchery. The word "pig" itself is used as an insult. I'm not an agnostic or anything, but I don't like a society that parades its righteousness."

The following that was mentioned about Miyazaki so far clearly illustrates R1, I2, F4, S6 and E7. Consequently, I think that Hayao Miyazaki is a very clear representative of an EII.

To learn more about the EII, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.


  1. Good article. It really solidified the typing of my EII friend. I can see now the common themes between Miyazaki and him. He's also apart of the green party, a communist, and cannot for the life of him fathom capitalism. His need to recharge in nature.