Dreams of engineers and dreams of mothers

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On Saturday my husband and I saw The Wind Rises, a fictional account of the life of Japanese aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of Japan’s famous WWII fighter plane, the Zero.

We wanted to see it because we admire the remarkable things director Hayao Miyazaki does with animation; but the subject was a particular draw for my husband, because his grandfather was a navy pilot in World War II.

“Airplanes are beautiful dreams. Engineers turn dreams into reality.”

My husband said that this film is an accurate picture of the mind of an engineer, one who captivated by the dream of making beautiful things, but who also is haunted by the fear that his creations might bring about harm.

The film was beautiful. Miyazaki has a poetic genius in animation – Michael and I both felt at times as though he had depicted something from within our own memory. Great poetry does that; apparently there is a visual poetry that can to do the same.

Why do I mention the dreams of engineers and the dreams of mothers? We both agree that we want our oldest child to see the film, because it seems that he is an engineer at heart. But also, Jiro Horikoshi, as depicted by Miyazaki, was a person of strong character, hard-working, respectful, and a defender of the weak. My dream – my prayer – for my children, is that they will have those qualities also.

The film touched on the dreams – or fears – of a mother in another way, too. The suffering of the people of Japan in the early 20th century was shown in many ways; one saw the helplessness of the people and children as an earthquake swept the landscape; hungry children waited late at night under a streetlight for their parents; Jiro and his fiance’s family suffered ups and downs as Jiro’s fiance fought tuberculosis. It was borne in on me as I watched that we are all so small and weak in the face of life. I have fears and desires for my children, but I have to let them go and trust that my children are in God’s hands, as were all those suffering people in Japan.

2 thoughts on “Dreams of engineers and dreams of mothers

  1. (Julie) Post author

    I am so glad to read your reaction to this film. I looked at the online trailer yesterday and, trying to be charitable about the bad music, was blown away by the beauty and sensitivity of the story, the art. The comments about both engineers and mothers are so very apt. I think engineers and artists are not so very different from each other. Have always thought so. God bless you, mother(s) of artists/engineers!!

  2. Maria Post author

    I think you are right that artists and engineers are not so different from one another. I admire the engineers I know very much; I appreciate their attention to detail, and orderliness, and commitment to their work and to logic. As a group I think they are more understanding and warm-hearted than stereotypes about them suggest.

    The music was bad on the trailer? I don’t remember it being bad in the film; but then, I may have not been paying enough attention to it.


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