Hayao Miyazaki Advocates Knives, Fire-Making And Other Stone Age Skills

Illustration for article titled Hayao Miyazaki Advocates Knives, Fire-Making And Other Stone Age Skills

Japan's answer to Walt Disney does not like technology. Hayao Miyazaki is concerned that the virtual world of video games, television, and even his own Ghibli Studio animated movies, is snatching away power from kids. Better teach them how to use knives!


"The environment that surrounds our children, including our animation, is all virtual," says Miyazaki, known for films like My Neighbor Totoro. "TV, video games, and then email, cell phones, manga. In short, I think the work that we are doing is snatching away children's power." This power he is referring to seems to be children's natural sense of wonder and creativity.

Miyazaki points out the inconsistencies of this, as he makes animated films. "As we are making movies, we always ask ourselves what we are going to do about it.


"There are things date back from the Stone Age that kids must learn before kids start learning to read and write," he continues. Like? According to Miyazaki, those are how to make a fire, how to keep it burning and put it out, how to climb a tree, how to tie a rope, how to use a needle and thread and how to use a knife. "Before children learn to read and write," Miyazaki adds, "I think the country has a duty to teach children these things." Obviously, the animator wants children to learn and experience the tactile world around them.

Once Miyazaki was asked if he uses the internet, and he replied that he does not. "I don't have a computer or fax," he said. "I don't have a DVD player either and I forgot how to use a video recorder. I even seldom watch television." He added that he once played a Japanese chess game with a computer and lost, noting that the computer was "not fair".

Last summer, Miyazaki called the iPad a "game machine-type thing" that people are "stroking with strange gestures". Continuing, he said the iPad was "disgusting" and added, "On trains, the number of those people doing that strange masturbation-like gesture is multiplying."


Most recently, Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli collaborated with Fukuoka-based game company Level-5 on role-playing game Ni no Kuni for the Nintendo DS. A PS3 version is expected to be released this year in Japan.


宮崎駿「テレビ、ゲーム、携帯が子供たちから力を奪っている。火のおこし方、ナイフの使い方を教えるべき」 - ライブドアブログ [痛いニュース(ノ∀`) ] [Pic: Getty]

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This is twice now I've seen articles trolling what is obviously deliberate oversimplification and hyperbole on Miyazaki's part. Sure, there's definitely an edge of technophobia in what he's saying especially with the comments about the iPad, but the sentiment that we need to teach kids more than reading, writing, and arithmetic (Which I might add many countries are doing a piss-poor job of to begin with, especially the US.) is perfectly sound.

People are getting more and more useless. They coast through existence relying on others for everything because they didn't have to learn to do it themselves.

Broken cabinet or drawer in the kitchen? Call a carpenter or a handyman! A drain or toilet stopped-up? Call a plumber! An appliance stops working? Throw it out and buy a new one!

I don't expect people to learn wilderness survival and stuff like that as a rule, but god damned if they shouldn't learn some basic skills that they need to survive their daily life without the help of others! If the electricity goes out, it's like the goddamn apocalypse for them!

How many 20-somethings do you know who can build a piece of furniture that didn't come in a box that says 'Ikea' on it? Operate power tools? Unclog a drain? Perform routine maintenance and basic repairs on household appliances or automobiles?

Hell, the generation after theirs probably won't even know how to cook.