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Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli producer and chairman, said the decision was a joint one.
"There's an end to everything," he said. "It's best not to wait to retire when one is already in a decline."
Miyazaki's success has helped keep Japan one of the world's biggest markets for animation. His sale of worldwide distribution rights for Studio Ghibli's works to Walt Disney Studios in 1996 helped win him a global audience.
One of the first to be distributed through that arrangement was "Princess Mononoke -- The Phantom Princess," a 1997 film set in the 14th century about a girl raised by wolves that carried one of Miyazaki's signature messages, the need to live in harmony with nature.
Miyazaki's rustic sensibilities differ markedly those of futuristic anime contemporaries like Osamu Tezuka, whose Astro Boy is a 1.35-meter (4-foot, 6-inch) robot with the heart of a little boy, built by a tormented scientist whose son died in a car accident.
Miyazaki films generally portray a fantasy world in which technology is eclipsed by mysticism and nature. In "My Neighbor Tottoro," his exquisitely detailed animation brought to life the beauty and mystery of the Japanese countryside, with its deep, dark forests and brilliant green rice paddies.
"The Wind Rises" begins with a compelling portrayal of the destruction and infernos set off by the 1926 Great Kanto Earthquake.
But much of his work is other-worldly: in announcing a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement award for Miyazaki in in 2005 the then-director of the Venice Film Festival, Marco Mueller, said Miyazaki was ''a giant who blew down the walls in which Japanese animated cinema wanted to pigeonhole itself."
Commenting by email on Miyazaki's retirement, Mueller said Friday that he believes the Ghibli legacy will be carried on by its younger artists.
"One thing is certain: the adventures of Miyazaki's Wonderland will never end," Mueller said.
In "Spirited Away," which also won the Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear award, 10-year-old Chihiro wanders away from her parents while on an outing and gets trapped in a fantastical water world of goblins, ogres and gods.
Chihiro ends up working for a witch who runs a bathhouse for those otherworldly creatures and is horrified to find her parents transformed by a magic spell into pigs -- creatures that seem to have a special fascination for Miyazaki.
The future direction of Studio Ghibli, which Miyazaki founded with his producer Isao Takahata in 1985, will be up to the younger staff, Miyazaki said.
"I've always wanted to do something besides animation," he said. "There are so many things I want to do."
"My idea of rest may not be the same as what others would think of. I think just lying around would be tiring."
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