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Mamoru Hosoda (細田 守, Hosoda Mamoru, born September 19, 1967) is a Japanese film director and animator. He was originally hired to be the director of Howl's Moving Castle before he left the project.


Stint at Ghibli

Studio Ghibli announced that Hosoda was to direct the film Howl's Moving Castle in September 2001. This was scheduled for a summer 2003 release. However, production on the film became strained due to creative differences. According to Hosoda, he "was told to make [the movie] similar to how Miyazaki would have made it, but [he] wanted to make [his] own film the way [he] wanted to make it". In the end, Hosoda left in the summer of 2002 during the early production stages, after failing to come up with a concept acceptable to Studio Ghibli bosses.[1]

Criticism of Ghibli

During the premiere of his 2021 film Belle at the Cannes film festival, Hosoda told the Associated Foreign Press (AFP) his thoughts on how women were depicted in Japanese animation. "You only have to watch Japanese animation to see how young women are underestimated and not taken seriously in Japanese society," he said. "It really annoys me to see how young women are often seen in Japanese animation -- treated as sacred -- which has nothing to do with the reality of who they are," Hosoda said, with evident frustration.

"Human relations can be complex and extremely painful for young people. I wanted to show that this virtual world, which can be hard and horrible, can also be positive," said Hosoda. His latest film's protagonist, Suzu and her computer geek friend, are far from the women that usually populate Japanese anime -- which is where Hosoda takes issue with Miyazaki, the Oscar-winning legend behind classics such as Spirited Away.

Without naming Miyazaki, Hosoda was unsparing about the Studio Ghibli founder. "I will not name him, but there is a great master of animation who always takes a young woman as his heroine. And to be frank I think he does it because he does not have confidence in himself as a man. This veneration of young women really disturbs me and I do not want to be part of it," he insisted.

He wants to free his heroines from being paragons of virtue and innocence and "this oppression of having to be like everyone else."

Hosoda and Miyazaki have history. The 53-year-old was seen as the natural successor to Miyazaki after he was called in from the outside by Ghibli to direct the Oscar-nominated "Howl's Moving Castle". But Hosoda walked out midway through to set up his own studio. The director prefers stories that "show the good and the bad in people. This tension is what being human is all about."[2]


  1. "The animé art of Hayao Miyazaki.", Dani Cavallaro, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 157. ISBN 9780786423699. OCLC 62430842
  2. "Hosoda: 'Japanese anime has problem with women and girls', France24