6 TOPICS ‘THE WIND RISES’ EXPLORES

“Engineers turn dreams into reality” – Caproni

The Wind Rises is a 2013 Japanese animated film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is a fictionalised biographical film of the life of Jiro Horikoshi – an engineer and the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter aircraft and the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, used by Japan during World War II

  1. Militant notions

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    There is quite a bit of political history in this movie. Miyazaki has gained criticism and praise for his depiction of politics throughout the film. The film embraces Japan’s post-war attitude towards its involvement in World War II – which is that instead of acknowledging the atrocities committed by the nation, in historical textbooks Japan’s role in the war is often associated with a certain refusal to accept responsibility for its actions. Caproni (an Italian engineer whom Jiro greatly admires and often visits in his dreams) and Jiro also discuss how plans “are beautiful dreams” and Caproni tells Jiro that they should not be used for destructive purposes. There is also the suggestion made by Caproni in the film that the military will corrupt Jiro’s talents as an engineer to turn his planes into weapons

  2. Magical realism

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    Jiro experiences many scenes filled with magical realism. This adds to the central theme of the movie – Jiro’s dreams about planes and fascination with them. Caproni summarises this nicely when he tells Jiro, “We can’t go up here, but in a dream you can go anywhere”

  3. The personification (or animalification) of planes

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    Throughout the film, Miyazaki refers to the planes as animals. By giving them qualities, the audience can better relate to Jiro’s own views on planes

  4. Symbolism of the wind

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    Throughout The Wind Rises, the wind is a reoccurring symbol of how the power of imagination can drive us to achieve our dreams. The wind also is symbolised by the plane Jiro designs to have reduced wind resistance – as instead of resisting the opportunity to push ourselves forward, the plane symbolically accepts it

  5. Anti-war message

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    Throughout this film, Miyazaki supports the anti-war message. The Wind Rises is about what happens when people cast aside what really matters in life to achieve their goals – such as how Jiro’s dreams were crushed by the corruption around him. Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica, who has interviewed Miyazaki previously says about this message in the film, “It’s as if Miyazaki wants to drive home the harsh difference between the two; the tragic near-impossibility of combining dreams and reality, and of living in both. If you choose one, you sacrifice the other”
    Essentially, Jiro has to put the ugly reality of the consequences his work has on others (both people in the war, victims of war and his lover) in the corner of his mind and focus on designing planes. Miyazaki makes the point in this film that Japan used violence in its attempt to gain global significance – and that this the wrong way to pursue significance

  6. Miyazaki’s own correlations to Jiro

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    Throughout this film, some of Miyazaki’s own beliefs are reflected by Jiro. Both want to make something beautiful and as Kelts notes, “Jiro embodies many of Miyazaki’s own contradictions. (Miyazaki is) a pacifist whose father earned his income during the war working for a fighter plane parts manufacturer, and a committed artist who also tried to appreciate the realities of life, including a family he feels he often neglected. At times, Jiro seems inured to the suffering, corruption, and the needs of those around him as he pursues the realization of his dream. The results, of course, make for a great tragic drama”

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