Hideaki Anno’s Advice to Students: “Do What You Want In High School”
Hideaki Anno, the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Shin Godzilla, doesn’t do motivational speeches. When he showed up at an N High School class on October 4 to give the students advice for the future, his attitude was not exactly inspirational. In a nonchalant and mild-mannered tone, he stated that he had never studied much in high school.
“Space Battleship Yamato was my life,” he explained. “I even memorized most of the lines and music from the show.”
The teenage Anno was obsessed with anime and manga. When he wasn’t absorbed in those activities, he’d play mahjong with his friends. Even during exam period, he’d play mahjong instead of study.
But studying isn’t the most important thing you can do as a high school student, Anno went on to say. By doing what you like doing in high school, you will discover your passions for later in life. It doesn’t matter what that passion is, whether it’s sport or creative arts, the discovery of your passion is the most important thing you can do in high school.
Anno also stressed that good communication skills are important in every field, including the anime industry. He also mentioned that learning English is important, especially in this day and age.
Anno was conveying this message to a class of aspiring artists. N High School is an online correspondent school set up in 2016 to teach students interested in the entertainment field. The school was set up by Kadokawa, a Japanese corporation that owns many companies involved in the anime, manga, and video game businesses. Other lecturers at the school include Keiichi Sigsawa, the author of Kino’s Journey, and Reki Kawahara, the author of Sword Art Online.
Anno spoke as a guest lecturer alongside Nobuo Kawakami, the president of Kadokawa Dwango. Kawakami, who admits to being something of a rebel himself in high school, has previously spoken about the need to update the Japanese schooling system for the digital age. The Japanese education system has often been criticized for its emphasis on rote learning instead of developing professional skills.
Kawakami agreed with Anno’s advice, and further mentioned that if you study something just to pass an entrance exam, it won’t make you more intelligent. Students should have a sense of curiosity about things and be open to learning new ideas.
The hour-long lecture was live-streamed on the Japanese video streaming service Nico Nico Douga.