Hayao Miyazaki has directed some of the most beloved anime movies of all-time and they typically share a strong female hero.
Miyazaki has stated in past interviews that he holds strong feminist views and believes that “any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.” It’s a strongly progressive view, given how Japan ranks near the bottom in terms of gender equality among developed nations.
Miyazaki has never shared a reason for his strong views, until now. Nippon TV aired a screening of Laputa: Castle in the Sky, which is Studio Ghibli’s first movie. The charming adventure movie holds a special place in the hearts of fans and it’s thanks to the lovable cast, especially Dola.
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Dola is the rough and courageous leader of a band of sky pirates. Her boisterous personality, wild hairstyle, and burly build paired with a caring personality wasn’t common for female characters at the time. In a brief interview for the special screening, Miyazaki revealed that Dola is based on his mom.
Miyazaki said that while his mom was in poor health and spent much of her time in a sickbed, she exuded strength and emotional fortitude that he found inspiring. “My mom had four boys, but none of us dared oppose her.”
Miyazaki has always credited his real-life experiences and interactions with people as his greatest inspirations for his stories. Miyazaki’s moves not only feature strong females heroes but motherly figures as well.