Steven Spielberg Shares How Miyazaki Influenced His Films

Steven Spielberg attended a special Japanese premiere event for Ready Player One and participated in a quick talking session with fans. Ready Player One is filled with pop culture references, including recreations of Mechagodzilla, the RX-78-2 Gundam, and the bike from Akira.

Spielberg took some time to share his love for Japanese pop culture and shared some of his all-time favorites. “I think my favorite Japanese ‘character’ is the motorcycle from Akira. I love that machine.”



He followed up with, “The runner-up for me, I gotta love Mechagodzilla.”



The director would then talk about his admiration for Hayao Miyazaki and what he learned about filmmaking from a conversation they had 12 years ago. “I especially, you know, admire the whole world of Miyazaki, and his taste and his storytelling abilities. His Spirited Away is one of the greatest animated films ever made, might be better than any Disney film I’ve ever seen. He was a real influence I got.”

Spirited Away


Spielberg continued, “I got to meet him. I brought my daughter here to Tokyo and I had a chance about eleven or twelve years ago to meet him.” He would go on share some of the topics they spoke about, “We talked about the process of what comes first, the story or the characters. And he was expressing the fact that the story is the character. For him, the characters are the story.”

Hayao Miyazaki


Spielberg is referring to how Miyazaki’s films are character-driven instead of plot-driven, which gives Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro a personal feel. Spielberg’s more recent films have taken a similar approach, which may have been influenced by Miyazaki after their meeting.

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