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Ghibli Founder Isao Takahata Inducted Into France's Order of Arts and Letters

posted on by Egan Loo
Oscar-nominated Princess Kaguya director also translated French poems, films

Isao Takahata, the Oscar-nominated anime director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, received the Officier decoration in France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) on Tuesday. French Ambassador Thierry Dana presented the honor in a ceremony at his official residence in Tokyo and praised Takahata as "legendary in the world of anime." The Officier rank is above the Chevalier, and below the Commandeur.

Takahata commented that he was truly happy for this honor since France is a special country to him. He added that he has visited France several times for film festivals and has spoken there about Japanese picture scrolls.

Takahata had a long career directing such classics as Little Norse Prince Valiant (Taiyō no Ōji - Hols no Daibōken), Alps no Shōjo Heidi, and Anne of Green Gables 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, and My Neighbors the Yamadas.

Takahata earned an Oscar nomination for his most recent work, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. He presented the film at last year's Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France and recevied an Honorary Award there.

Takahata majored in French literature at the University of Tokyo before becoming an animator. He also translated the works of French poet Jacques Prévert — including the first complete Japanese translation of the Paroles (Kotobatachi) volume — as well as several French films.

Riyoko Ikeda, the manga creator best known for her French Revolution epic Rose of Versailles, received the Chevalier decoration in the Order in 2009.

Sources: Sports Nippon, NHK, Chunichi Shimbun, Asahi via Hachima Kikō

Update: The French Embassy notified ANN that Takahata received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, not the Ordre national de la Légion d'Honneur.

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