The Wind Rises is a 2013 Japanese animated drama, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is the final film that Miyazaki directed before he retired, and there are several things that he put in the movie that convey that feeling of withdrawal. The Wind Rises is a visually stunning film. It brings pre-war Japan to life in ways that were never been seen before in the film industry, which opened up new ways to see the Japanese during WWII. The ways that Miyazaki showed Japan caused considerable controversy and criticism surrounding this film, especially when the movie went into theaters in the United States.
In Asia, the movie aroused feelings of distaste even before the movie was initially released. The controversy mainly surrounded the way that the that the Japanese people and military were depicted throughout the film. People condemned Miyazaki for commending the maker of ‘killing machines,’ and they also criticized Miyazaki for whitewashing history, making the Japanese seem more innocent and better than they were. Usually, when I think of the Japanese people and the military during that time I think of them as terrible people, especially the soldiers.
I think of them this way because of all the terrible things that they did during World War II, and that they were allies with Germany. Some of the terrible things that Japan did would be the many war crimes done during World War II, such as attacking neutral countries, torture of POW’s, mass killings, and human experimentation and biological warfare, just to name a few. Many people think that this movie depicts the Japanese as better people than they were, especially the military and leaders.
The film follows Jiro Horikoshi in his passion for building airplanes. Inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers, best known for designing the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter. This aircraft was utilized with great effect by the Japanese during World War II and was known as a nearly invincible fighter plane, having an average kill ratio of 12:1, which is insane. You can see why so many people criticized this film. The movie glorified Jiro, who created one of the best killing machines for the Japanese army, which was used to their aid in killing countless people.
Many people get caught up in this controversy about these different topics surrounding the historical accuracy and miss out on the beauty and wonder in the film. The film wrestles with the topic of whether making the airplanes is the right decision. Jiro wants to follow his passion and dreams to design airplanes, but there is the dilemma that his creations will just be used as war machines. One of the reasons why I think that some of the controversies are irrelevant is that the airplane designer Jiro does not favor war and never wanted his creations to be used in war. But he still wanted to follow his dreams and made airplanes, knowing that they will only be destroyed and used in the killing of many people.
In the end, The Wind Rises is a fantastic film, and a great movie to end off Miyazaki’s career. The images contained in the film carry a desire for the past even as they recognize that the past is dead. Jiro and Caproni long for a time in the past when aeronautical engineering was at its peak and when their creations would not be used as devices for killing.