Renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki will retire from filmmaking, a spokesperson for the director announced at the Venice Film Festival. Miyazaki's latest film, "The Wind Rises," made its European debut at the festival on September 1.
There was little fanfare -- or explanation -- accompanying the announcement.
"Miyazaki has decided that 'The Wind Rises' will be his last film, and he will now retire," said Koji Hoshino, head of Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli.
Beloved in Japan and worldwide for films such as "Princess Mononoke," "Howl's Moving Castle," and "Spirited Away," for which he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002, Miyazaki, 72, has enjoyed numerous accolades throughout his long career.
"The Wind Rises," which premiered in Japan in July and has raked in over $80 million so far in the director's home country, tells the fictionalized story of the engineer who designed the Japanese fighter planes used in World War II.
Though many Miyazaki fans remain skeptical about the veracity of the director's retirement claim, critics agree that "The Wind Rises," with its lush animation and poignant story, is a perfect coda to his career. Miyazaki is expected to discuss his plans later this week in Tokyo.
"The Wind Rises" opens in U.S. theaters on November 8.