Evaluations on Human-Environment Relationship Through Filmic Forests: Hayao Miyazaki Films

Sema Mumcu


Approaches to human-environment relationship acknowledge these notions as separate and because of this have a restricting effect on environmental design disciplines. This relationship forms the philosophical foundations of landscape architecture and urban planning but that hitherto this is under developed in their intellectual fabric. Different landscapes are the products of different approaches and levels of values. Dealing with these will aid to define and understand society’s approach to nature and human-environment relationship and afford opportunities for comparing different approaches and products. Especially forests which represent uncontrollable wild ‘other’ for humans are the most damaged areas of the world compared to others in effort of struggling with the ‘other’. Therefore analyzing different cultures’ approaches to nature will be succeeded by understanding how they relate themselves to their forests. In this context this study deals with filmic forests; through the transformations of the forest landscapes the relationship of the humans who live together with forest with their environment is considered.  

In this study varied approaches to human-environment relationship and their effect on landscape which is defined as a product of culture-nature interaction are dealt with using films as a different intellectual tool. Films of director Hayao Miyazaki who is fromFar Eastculture were considered because of its important differences from prevalent Western thought. Two films of him which depict forest and human communities’ relationship were analyzed, depending on approaches of varied communities to forest; human-environment relationship was discussed.

In common both films examined in this study depict societies in close contact with a forest and their different approaches to forest. Thus Miyazaki who was able to reflect human-nature relationship from different view points at once deals with the events in a multi dimensional and complex way and compels his audience to think about the complexity of contemporary environmental problems. He provides new perspectives to the audience which emphasize concepts such as ‘dignity of life’ and ‘interconnectedness’ and warns about the vulnerability of ecosystem on earth. The landscapes in the films of Hayao Miyazaki is not merely a background but an alive, breathing character like others in the films; which is a reflection of Shinto belief of the director.  ‘Otherising nature’ which is a result of prevailing Western thinking and forests’ becoming frequently victim of this thought is criticised byMiyazakithrough the forests in his films.


Hayao Miyazaki; Anime; Human-Environment Relationship; Landscape; Forest

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ISSN  2378-0991 (online)