Isao Takahata, anime director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, passed away on April 5, 2018 from lung cancer. He was 82 years old at the time of his passing.
Takahata was born on October 29, 1935. He joined Toei Douga (now Toei Animation) in 1959 after graduating from the University of Tokyo His directorial debut was on an episode of the Ōkami Shōnen Ken television anime. His career included directing such classics as Little Norse Prince Valiant (Taiyō no Ōji – Hols no Daibōken), Alps no Shōjo Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, and Panda! Go, Panda! before he co-founded Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki. He went on to create the feature films Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. He also served as a producer on Miyazaki and Ghibli’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and was the artistic producer on Wild Bunch and Ghibli’s The Red Turtle.
Among the honors he received were the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government in 1998, the Honorific Leopard award at the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival in 2009, the Anime Award of Merit in 2010, an honorary degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012, the Anime d’or prize at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival in 2014, the Honorary Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 2014, the Officier decoration in France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) in 2015, and the Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement at the 43rd Annie Awards in 2016.