Miyazaki was born in Tokyo. He is the creator of many popular anime feature films, as well as some manga. Although largely unknown in the west outside of animation circles until his 2002 Animated Feature Oscar, his films are almost without exception huge box-office and critical successes in Japan, and many of them explore the themes of humanity's relationship to nature.
Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind was one of his first films as both screenwriter and director. He adapted it from his manga of the same name, which he had created two years previously. He later co-founded the animation film company, Studio Ghibli, and has produced most (if not all) of his subsequent work through it.
In 1997, Princess Mononoke (\Mononoke Hime) became the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, until the later success of Titanic, and won Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki retired after making Mononoke, intending it to be his last film as a director.
He came out of retirement after meeting the daughter of a friend who became the inspiration for Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), which was released in Japan in July 2001 and broke the attendance and box office records previously set there by Titanic, with 30.4 billion yen of total gross earnings from over 23 million viewings. It has received numerous film awards, including Best Picture at the 2001 Japanese Academy Awards, Golden Bear (First Prize) at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.