Arts Movies

The Wind Rises

caproni and jiro

The Wind Rises  (Kaze Tachinu / 風立ちぬ) is a Japanese animation.  It was unveiled by Studio Ghibli in 2013.  The North American version was released by Touchstone Pictures in the winter of 2014.  Hayao Miyazaki returned as the writer and director after a five-year break from PonyoThe Wind Rises was Japan’s highest earning film in 2013.  Over one hundred thirteen million poured in at the box office against a thirty million dollar budget.  An additional twenty-three million was earned worldwide.

The picture was nominated for numerous awards.  It lost its bid for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards and won the Japan Academy Film Prize for Animation of the Year.  The critical reception was positive.  The film critic David Ehrlich went as far as calling it the greatest animation of all time.  The movie’s musical score was conducted and composed by Joe Hisaishi.  The Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra carried out the performance.

Miyazaki was looking to create a Ponyo sequel titled Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea II.  The producer Toshio Suzuki suggested adapting The Wind Has Risen manga instead.  Hayao was against it and claimed his creation contained subject matter unsuitable for all audiences.  Time passed and a Studio Ghibli staff member tipped the scales.  They advocated that the younger audience members should be exposed to unfamiliar themes.  Miyazaki agreed.  The Wind Rises…arose.

the wind rises
Gigantic HD cover photo of The Wind Rises – Photo Credit: Salva_Navarro

The film begins in the year 1918.  Jiro Horikoshi is the protagonist and has a monomaniacal desire to become a pilot.  He is afflicted with poor vision and is nearsighted.  His sight worsens and the potential damage from the high altitudes of flight ends his dream.  He reads about a famous airplane designer named Giovanni Battista Caproni (1886 – 1957) and redirects his vision.

Big J goes to sleep and has lurid dreams about Caproni.  The aeronautical engineer tells him that he has never flown a plane in his life.  He says that building them creates more pleasure than flying them.  Jiro agrees and five years pass.  He is on a train and is headed to the Tokyo Imperial University to study aerospace engineering.  He meets a girl named Naoko Satomi traveling with her maid.  The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 rumbles by and the maid breaks a leg.  Good guy Jiro carries the maid back to Naoko’s place and departs without an introduction.  The wind rises.

Four years go by and Jiro has graduated  He lands a job at the Mitsubishi aircraft plant with his friend Kiro Honjo.  They are tasked with designing a fighter plane for the Imperial Army.  It is called the Mitsubishi 1MF9 (Falcon).  The work is hard and rewarding.  Their creation breaks into pieces during the trial run and the Falcon is rejected by the Army. The work is less rewarding.

jiro at work
Jiro hard at work – Photo Credit:

Kiro and Jiro are sent to Germany after their setback.  Their goal is to conduct technical research and obtain a production license for Hugo Junkers’ G.38 plane.  The protagonist meets Hugo and gets into a scuffle with some German soldiers.  He has more dreams of Caproni who continues to propel him forward in his fantasy.  The old master states that designing planes is beneficial for society, even if they are used for war.  The aesthetic of the flight outweighs everything else.

Time forwards to 1932 and Jiro is promoted.  He is now the chief designer of a fighter plane for a competition hosted by the Imperial Navy.  His submission is the Mitsubishi 1MF10 (7-Shi Carrier Fighter).  Testing ends in another disaster and his plane is rejected a year later.  Jiro is sad and takes a well-deserved vacation in Karuizawa, Nagano to recuperate.  He runs into Naoko.  Jiro is happy.

The reunited pair grows close and everyone has a wonderful time.  The second World War is brewing in the background and Jiro asks Naoko’s father for his blessing to marry his daughter.  Papa Naoko agrees and the couple gets engaged.  Naoko is sick with tuberculosis and the two decide to postpone their big day until she recovers.  Jiro returns to work and his fiancé is sent to a sanatorium in the mountains to heal.  Jiro’s sister warns him that her condition is incurable.

naoko and jiro
Naoko and Jiro in the rain – Photo Credit:

Work continues and Jiro grinds away on his new project.  The two share letters while the days go by.  Naoko’s health takes a turn for the worse and she passes on.  Jiro becomes a success.  The years move onward and Japan is devastated by the fallout of World War II.  His creation was used for destruction.  He has another dream and Caproni comforts him and acknowledges him as a peer.  Jiro has a vision of Naoko and she consoles her husband.  She encourages him to live life to the fullest.  The Wind Rises ends.

The Wind Rises Cast

Caproni Nomura Mansai Stanley Tucci
Castorp Stephen Albert Werner Herzog
Hattori Jun Kunimura Mandy Patinkin
Jiro HorikoshiHideaki Anno Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jiro’s Mother Keiko TakeshitaEdie Mirman
Kayo Horikoshi Mirai Shida Mae Whitman
Kiro HonjoHidetoshi Nishijima John Krasinski
Kurokawa Masahiko Nishimura Martin Short
Mrs. Kurokawa Shinobu Otake Jennifer Grey
Naoko Satomi Miori Takimoto Emily Blunt
Naoko’s Father Morio Kazama William H. Macy
caproni and jiro
Caproni and Jiro – Photo Credit:

3 comments on “The Wind Rises

  1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Fascinating time period! I look forward to watching this.

  2. Did on what Matthew said.

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