TEHRAN. (Iranart) - I sao Takahata, a leading Japanese animator who co-founded Studio Ghibli, the iconic Tokyo-based company behind hit films including ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘My Neighbor Totoru,’ died. He was 82.
Takahata, an award-winning animator, passed away at a Tokyo hospital after suffering from lung cancer, The Telegraph reported.
He was a longtime collaborator of Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki, another titan of the animation world, writing and producing a string of hit films during his decades-long career.
Their work at Studio Ghibli has long been celebrated for its hand-drawn manga style qualities, in creative defiance of the rise of digital filmmaking, tackling powerful themes ranging from environmentalism to war.
Takahata was born in 1935 in Mie Prefecture, Kansai region on Japan’s main island of Honshu. He endured a childhood marred with wartime trauma, after reportedly surviving a US air raid on Okayama in western Japan at age nine.
He graduated from the prestigious University of Tokyo before launching his career with a job at Toie Animation studio, Tokyo, in 1959.
It was then that he met Miyazaki. They were widely reported in the media to be both friends and rivals throughout their respective careers. The pair left Toie in the early 1970s and worked together on a string of films, before setting up the prestigious Studio Ghibli in 1985 with the goal of creating a Japanese take on Disney.
Takahata’s best work is widely regarded to be ‘Grave of the Fireflies,’ a 1988 film depicting an emotional tale of two orphan siblings and their battle to survive the final months of World War II.
Prolific to the end, Takahata’s most recent film ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’ resulted in an Oscar nomination in 2014 for best animated feature and was also showcased at the Cannes Film Festival.
He also storyboarded and directed numerous TV series in the 1960s and ’70s including Anne of Green Gables and Heidi which are popular with Iranian audiences as they were shown on state TV.