Review of “Worlds of Insects, Trees and Humans: A Dialogue with Takeshi Yōrō” (2006)


Miyazaki Hayao (participant), Yōrō Takeshi (participant).

Read in 2021.

Read in Turning Point.

A pleasant dialogue between an anatomist and a film director, mainly over their shared interest in human ecology and the spate of recent short films showing at the Ghibli Museum. Apparently there’s a whole book of such dialogues between the two. In this one, Jared Diamond is namedropped apropos of the ecological carrying capacity of Australia, and Miyazaki describes how he resorted to an old cartoonists’ trick of sophistry to escape uncomfortable questions:

In truth, there are multiple little eyes in the middle of the face, but if we drew them that way, the water spider would have looked like an evil emperor. But of course the instant we put a ribbon on the water strider, then anything was possible. [laughs] From that point on, if someone said, “But entomologically speaking, that doesn’t make sense, does it?” we could reply that, well, this is a world where water striders wear ribbons.

He talks about his own occasional and typical cruelty to insects as a child, and they mention how pest control is practised in their wives’ gardens, somewhat at odds with their nominal philosophies. The Miyazaki household is particularly stressful:

Sometimes poisonous tussock moth caterpillars, Artaxasublava, appear all over the place. And then my wife asks me what we should do. And of course when she asks me what Nausicaä would do, I completely lose it.

References here: Tales from Earthsea (2006), Turning Point: 1997–2008 (2008/2014), The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World (2009).

text non-fiction Japanese production