Human voices are largely used as sound effects, such as engine roars and earthquake sound.
After the first screening of the film, director Hayao Miyazaki said it was the first time he ever cried during the screening of his own movie.
Concerned that surround sound in movie theaters distracted the audience from paying attention to what was happening on the screen, Hayao Miyazaki ordered the film to have a monaural sound mix.
The protagonist Jirô Horikoshi is a fictional character made from a mix of the actual lives of Tatsuo Hori, the author of the short story of the same name, and Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero fighter aircraft. The title comes from Hori's translation of a quote from Paul Valéry's poem "Le cimetière marin".
The film is based on a manga Miyazaki authored in 2009. It was Toshio Suzuki who suggested to Hayao Miyazaki to adapt the manga into a film, when Miyazaki was interested in making a sequel to Ponyo (2008).
In early 2013, the 72 year old Hayao Miyazaki announced that he would retire after the release of "The Wind Rises", marking his sixth such announcement. Since then, many rumors have circulated stating that he has announced his return to feature films once again - however, these are unfounded and based on pure speculation from Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki. Suzuki himself has since stepped down as producer.
The original Japanese version of film poster shows Naoko painting alone on a hillside, her skirt billowing in the wind. The US version portrays the same scene, but adds Jiro leaning over to kiss her and a paper plane flying overhead.
The song sung by Jiro, Castorp and others at dinner is "Das gibt's nur einmal, das kommt nicht wieder" " ("This happens only once, it doesn't come again") from the German musical comedy film Der Kongreß tanzt (Congress Dances (1932) ).
Hans Castorp, the German man at the hotel, has the same name as the main character from The Magic Mountain. In this book, Hans has tuberculosis, similar to a character in the film.
This is the first time Hideaki Anno (voice of Jiro) has acted in a full length feature animated film. His animation production company, Studio Khara also provided animation support.
Many have speculated that the character of Castorp was inspired by the real life of Soviet spy Richard Sorge.