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Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli Co-Founder, Dies Age 82

Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli Co-Founder, Dies Age 82

Oscar-nominated Japanese anime director Isao Takahata, who co-founded the Studio Ghibli and was best known for his work "Grave of the Fireflies", has died aged 82, the studio said on Friday.

He died of lung cancer on Thursday at a Tokyo hospital, Studio Ghibli announced earlier today. Creator of powerful and well-loved films such as Grave of the Fireflies and Pom Poko, Japanese news sources report that Takahata passed away at a Tokyo hospital, having been in decline due to a heart condition since a year ago.

He co-founded Japan's Studio Ghibli in 1985 with director Hayao Miyazaki, with the studio going on to produce and release films such as Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle.

Takahata started his career in animation at the Toei studio in 1959, where he eventually met long-term collaborator and rival Miyazaki. He had been struggling with his health since last summer.

Takahata's credits include Grave of the Fireflies (1988), Only Yesterday (1991), and Pom Poko (1994). Takahata confessed to an nearly love-hate relationship with Miyazaki because their works were so different.

He launched the prestigious Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli with animator Hayao Miyazaki in 1986, hoping to create Japan's Disney. While Miyazaki was more focused on deadlines and schedules, Takahata never strayed away from one goal: creating as handsome of a product as possible.

One of the most bewitching films ever to emerge from Studio Ghibli, Princess Kaguya sums up a great deal about Takahata's talent as a storyteller.

In 2009, Takahata received a Leopard of Honour award at the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival, which screened several of his animated films in a retrospective.

He was planning to make a film about exploited girls, forced to work as nannies with infants strapped on their backs.

In 2013, cinema-goers finally got to see The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, a stunning animated folklore tale that took somewhere in the region of five years to make and a budget of about $49 million - making it the most expensive hand-drawn film in Japanese history.