Hayao Miyazaki: Spirited Away Director Retiring
Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese director behind animated films including the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, plans to retire after a career spanning five decades.
The 72-year-old's final movie is The Wind Rises, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
The director, who has been behind 11 feature films and is sometimes called the Walt Disney of Japan, was not at the event in Italy.
His retirement was announced by Koji Hoshino, the head of Studio Ghibli, a production company that was co-founded by Miyazaki.
Hoshino said: "Next week Miyazaki will have a press conference held in Tokyo to announce his withdrawal from active working.
"He wants to say goodbye to all of you from the bottom of his heart."
Hoshino said he could reveal any further details because of the planned official news conference.
The Wind Rises, which is already a box-office hit in Japan, is based on the story of the man who designed Japan's feared Zero fighter plane that was used in World War Two.
The film's themes about the dangers of nationalism and war have set up the animator for unprecedented criticism.
Commentators see it as a veiled warning that Japan may again be heading in a similar direction.
Miyazaki emphasised that warning in a scathing written piece in mid-July about proposals by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revise Japan's pacifist constitution.
Many of the director's films have an environmental or feminist slant, and among his best known works are Future Boy Conan, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind and The Castle Of Cagliostro.
His 1997 film Princess Mononoke received the Japanese equivalent of the Oscar for best film and was one of the highest-grossing Japanese films domestically at that time.
Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002 and also was a huge hit internationally.