We’re not going to see Hayao Miyazaki’s new anime for another three to four years, producer says

Producer gives tentative timetable while promising Studio Ghibli is doing “things we were never able to do in the past.”

A lot of people in Japan are expecting 2020 to be a very big year. With Tokyo serving as the host city for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the world’s eyes will be on Japan, and a number of construction projects and social initiatives have been launched with 2020 as their target for completion or implementation, such as the remodeling of Tokyo’s iconic Harajuku Station and the acceptance of transgender students to Ochanomizu Women’s University.

But one thing that’s not going to be ready in time for 2020? The new Hayao Miyazaki anime film, at least according to the estimate of veteran Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki.

Last Sunday, Suzuki appeared at an event in Tokyo to commemorate the release of his first non-fiction novel, titled Mianmi no Kuni no Kanyada. Since Suzuki will be forever associated with Ghibli’s animated works, while at the event he was also asked about the status of Miyazaki’s upcoming film How Will You Live?, which marks the director’s second time to come back from retirement. Specifically, he was asked when the movie will be released, to which he replied:

“I’m not exactly sure. In about three or four years. That’s the pace it’s progressing at. We’re taking the production very seriously. We’re doing things we were never able to do in the past. It will be a good film, so please look forward to it.”

That’s a long wait for ravenous Ghibli fans, especially since “three or four years from now” is the same estimate fans were given in October of last year, meaning that it’s possible that the original projection really should have been four to five years. Still, Suzuki’s comment that Studio Ghibli, whose dedication to their craft is second to none, is taking the production seriously is enough to fill any fan’s heart with confidence, and his promise that the studio is doing things they’ve never done before should also be reassuring to any detractors who feel the house that Miyazaki built has become a bit stale in its storytelling.

As for Suzuki’s new novel, it deals with a single mother living in rural Thailand. When asked if there’s any chance of Miyazaki one day directing an anime adaptation, Suzuki laughed and said “There’s no way that’ll happen! I told everyone at the office not to tell him about the book’s existence, because I think he’d say ‘What are you doing not working on the film?’”

The longer wait for How Will You Live? means that the fourth Rebuild of Evangelion movie will be able to enjoy that much more of the spotlight if it makes its announced 2020 release, thus preventing the film from creator Hideaki Anno, one of the few animators Miyazaki has expressed a personal admiration of, from competing with the Ghibli anime. And if you really need some new Miyazaki anime before his feature film finally makes it to theaters, there’s always his new short, Boro the Caterpillar, playing at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo (which also happens to be hiring).

Source: Oricon News via Anime News Network/Rafael Antonio Pineda
Top image ©SoraNews24

Petition to protest bulldozing of Ghibli-featured shrine gathers over 10,000 signatures worldwide

The people have made it clear that they want the shrine to stay, but will that be enough to save it?

Bordering a large park in Tokushima Prefecture on the western tip of Shikoku lies a shrine dedicated to the mischievous tanuki. Though it’s not a very old shrine–it was built in 1956–Kincho Shrine is beloved by the residents of Komatsushima City not only because of its endearing tanuki decorations, but also because of its appearance in the Studio Ghibli anime Pom Poko, directed by the late Isao Takahata.

Instagram Photo

Sadly, Kincho Shrine may soon be bulldozed and turned into a parking lot. It’s part of Hinomine Omiko Park, which Komatsushima City has been planning to demolish and turn into an emergency management facility by 2023. The shrine, which sits on the edge of the park, is apparently in the perfect place for a parking lot, and therefore is also facing the danger of demolition.

When the plans were announced earlier this year, local citizens and fans of Ghibli were outraged that an iconic setting and unique local feature would be destroyed, and a Citizen’s Committee to Protect Kincho Shrine was formed. The first order of business was to create a petition to protect the shrine, the goal of which, the committee chairman said, was “not to protest the plan for redevelopment, but to encourage the city to put its best efforts towards preservation.”

▼ The shrine is also apparently a beautiful place to visit in spring, which makes it even more of a shame if it were to be torn down (red pandas are not known to be native to the area).

Instagram Photo

The petition was conducted both in-person and online. Members of the committee petitioned locals in 36 places around Komatsushima City between April and June and received 3,092 signatures, while an online petition, which had started in March, gathered 7,094 signatures from netizens around the world. In total they were able to collect over 10,000 signatures in support of the shrine.

The committee submitted the petition to the Mayor and City Council Chairman of Komatsushima City on July 31, in hope that the city government would form a committee that would quickly work towards a solution. However, one problem still remains: the shrine rests on private property.

▼ Tanuki statues in Kincho Shrine

Instagram Photo

“The shrine does not belong to the city, and therefore we are not in a place to make a decision regarding it,” said the mayor.

Interestingly, it seems like nobody knows who the owner of the property is, so it is likely that the next step would be to find the owner and begin negotiations with them. Whether or not the city is able to move forward with their plan hinges on the decision of the property owner, so undoubtedly fans and supporters of the shrine are waiting for the outcome with bated breath.

Instagram Photo

Fortunately, several places that inspired Ghibli films are still active and in no danger of demolition in the near future, like Tomonoura, which inspired the setting for Ponyo, and Yakushima Island, the stunning inspiration for Princess Mononoke. If Kincho Shrine does end up demolished, Ghibli fans will certainly mourn its loss, but at least they will still have some wonderful Ghibli places to explore.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Tokushima Shimbun
Featured Image:

Anime Spirited Away finds a new way to be beautiful with gorgeous traditional hanafuda card set

The Studio Ghibli classic turns out to be a perfect motif for Japan’s centuries-old “flower cards.”

It really speaks to the talent of Studio Ghibli’s artists that the vast majority of the mystical creatures appearing in its anime films are entirely original creations, yet so aesthetically polished that many viewers assume they must be based on legitimate Japanese folklore. Ghibli’s highly cultivated design sensibilities just seem to immediately mesh with traditional Japanese imagery, and that aesthetic harmony is on display once again in a gorgeous set of hanafuda playing cards featuring the cast of director Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

Hanafuda literally translates as “flower cards,” and the full set of is divided into twelve suits, one for each month of the year and represented with seasonal flora. While this visual variety makes any hanafuda deck beautiful to look at, the Spirited Away set gets extra appeal by including several memorable employees and patrons of the anime’s magical bathhouse. Protagonist Chihiro appears in the April/cherry blossom suit, with Haku auspiciously gracing January/pine. Stern-faced witch Yubaba glowers from one of the December/paulownia cards, and also appears with a more tender expression peering into a cup of sake for September/chrysanthemum (or is that her sister, Zenibaba?). Meanwhile, No-Face hangs out under the bough of a tree for November/willow.

Boh, transformed into a mouse, shows up on one of the June/peony cards.

▼ Each of the 48 cards has some sort of nod to the film, such as Haku, in his dragon form, silhouetted against the moon for August/Japanese pampas grass, or Chihiro’s father stuck as a pig on the same July/bush clover card that traditionally has a wild boar.

If you’ve never played hanafuda before, fear not, as the cards come bundled with bilingual English/Japanese instructions. Even if you never use them for their ostensible purpose, though, the cards make for elegant interior decorations, and at a compact 5.4 centimeters (2.1 inches) long, can be used to spruce up even compact living spaces.

The set, which comes packaged in a hard case, is priced at 3,240 yen (US$29) and can be ordered online from Village Vanguard, Donguri Kyowakoku, or Amazon Japan.

Sources: Village Vanguard, Donguri Kyowakoku
Top image: Donguri Kyowakoku
Insert images: Village Vanguard, Donguri Kyowakoku

Looking for a job in Japan? Now you can work in the world of anime at the Ghibli Museum!

That’s right – the Ghibli Museum is now hiring!

If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, then chances are you probably have a soft spot for Studio Ghibli. As one of the country’s leading animation studios, and the creator of Japan’s highest-grossing film ever, the 2001 hit Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli has a huge following around the world, and visitors to Japan get to immerse themselves in its magical world at its very own museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka district.

Now the Ghibli Museum is at the centre of attention for fans once again, this time with the announcement that they’re hiring permanent full-time staff to work for them. The job ad, which was posted in Japanese on their official site just a few days ago, lists all the necessary requirements, and the remuneration on offer for successful candidates, so let’s take a look at the listing below!

According to the advertisement, the Ghibli Museum is looking to hire full-time staff to join them from 1 April 2019, in order to fill the following roles:

  • Customer service and retail sales at the museum shops and cafe
  • Maintenance and contract management for building facilities and exhibitions
  • Store merchandise management
  • Cooking operations at the cafe

Requirements for applicants

  • No older than 28 years-of-age (as they aim to create long-term career development for young people)
  • Confident individuals who get along with people and have bright and cheerful personalities
  • Knowledgeable and able to speak in their own words on a variety of subjects
  • Have confidence in their physical strength
  • Have confidence in language ability
  • Hold a regular driver’s licence (although this is not essential)
  • Experience working 1-4 different roles is a plus (part-time experience included)

▼ Have you got what it takes to work at the Ghibli Museum like these staff members?

Hours, pay and benefits

  • Wage: More than 220,000 yen (US$1,970.26) per month
  • Commuting expenses fully paid
  • Uniform part loaned
  • Pay rise once a year
  • Bonus twice a year
  • Social Insurance and welfare included
  • Holidays: Five-day workweek / Year-end and New Year’s holidays / Long vacation twice a year (approximately 120 days off per year, including weekends)
  • Hours: Between 8:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on a shift system (actual workday is 8 hours)
  • Location: Ghibli Museum (Official name: Mitaka Municipal Animation Art Museum)
  • Access: A 15-minute walk from either Mitaka Station or Kichijoji Station

If this sounds like your dream job and you fit all the requirements, then simply download the application pack here. The pack contains a resume form, to which a photo taken within the last three months must be attached (this is standard for resumes in Japan), and a “self-introduction” page, which should outline your past achievements and successful experiences in 800 characters.

Although there’s no specific mention that Japanese fluency is a requirement, it’s understood that “confidence in language ability” is referring to the Japanese language, and given that the forms in the application pack are written in Japanese, it’s safe to say that responses and resumes are expected to be submitted in Japanese also.

So if you’re confident in your Japanese language ability, send in your application now to: 〒181-0013 東京都三鷹市下連雀1-1-83 三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 採用係 (In English:  Employment Official, The Mitaka Ghibli Museum, Tokyo-to, Mitaka-shi, Shimorenjaku 1-1-83, 〒181-0013).

Applications are only being accepted by mail and must arrive by close of business on Friday 31 August 2018. Successful applicants will be contacted by phone within a month after the application deadline for an interview, with results finalised by early December. Good luck!

Source: Ghibli Museum
Photos © SoraNews24 

Celebrate Totoro’s 30th anniversary with new and exclusive commemorative Totoro items!

Beloved anime character Totoro is celebrating his 30th birthday this year and is getting an exciting line of new merchandise that Ghibli fans won’t want to miss!

Who doesn’t love Totoro, that huge, furry and immensely huggable creation, right? Well, if you can’t get enough of Ghibli’s magical character, we have good news for you! A range of new My Neighbor Totoro products will be released later this month from Ghibli merchandise chain Donguri Kyowakoku to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the film’s release. And as always, the lineup looks sure to tantalize Ghibli fans.

Let’s see what delightful items they have in store for us! First, here are the two commemorative products that they’ve exclusively released for the 30th anniversary.

●30th Anniversary Large Totoro Stuffed Doll (8,200 yen [US$75])

This 32-centimeter (12.5-inch) tall stuffed Totoro is individually hand-made in Japan and comes in a special box marked with a gold 30th anniversary logo.

● Cel Art Print From Studio Ghibli “My Neighbor Totoro” (70,000 yen)

This beautiful cel art print (which we’ve been wanting since last month), measuring 55.5 centimeters wide by 39 centimeters high is a limited edition piece that comes with an original wooden frame, a unique print edition number, and official certification.

There are also the following new Totoro products that will be released this month along with the commemorative items.

My Neighbor Totoro 1/18 Stop Motion Figure Collection Dondoko Dance (1,650 yen each)

These 6.6-centimeter tall figures recreate the movement of Totoro’s “Dondoko” (drum beat) dance in stop motion, and there are 18 different figures to complete the entire movement. Each figure has a different pose and expression to let you enjoy a small bit of animation in real-life 3D.

▼ And if you buy all 18 of the Dondoko Dance figures, you’ll get a bonus 19th figure as a special gift!

But we’re not finished yet. They have another set of figures that looks just as adorable!

My Neighbor Totoro 1/10 Stop Motion Figure Collection Tokotoko Mini Totoro (1,400 yen each)

These 5.3-centimeter tall figures show the white Mini Totoro in stop motion (the “tokotoko” referring to a walking sound), with 10 figures in the entire collection. If you look closely, you’ll see that Mini Totoro turns slightly translucent at the end!

And if you’re fond of Mini Totoro, you”ll love this item:

My Neighbor Totoro: “We’ve Found Mini Totoro!” Figure (4,800 yen)

This figure stands 21 centimeters tall, and with the attention to detail from the texture of the fur to the legs in motion, it’s as close to owning a real Mini Totoro as you can get!

And that’s not all. As an additional bonus, starting July 21, you’ll receive a special 30th anniversary sticker if you purchase 1,000 yen or more at a Donguri Kyowakoku store and an original pouch for purchases of 5,000 yen or more (purchases to include at least one Totoro item).

▼ Here’s the ad for the sticker and pouch giveaway campaign. The Japanese “Shingen-style” pouch with the Totoro faces looks lovely!

The Totoro items shown here will be available in late July at Donguri Kyowakoku shops across Japan and also from their online store. They’re also scheduled to have another giveaway campaign in August as well as some more new products for fans to covet, so we’ll certainly be looking forward to that too.

It’s hard to believe Totoro has been around for 30 years now, but then, some kinds of magic never grow old, do they?

Source, images: PR Times
Related: Donguri Kyowakoku shop list, Donguri Kyowakoku online shop

Ghibli anime is real? Totoro Catbus spotted on the streets of Hiroshima【Video】

But this amazing tribute to Hayao Miyazaki’s classic film isn’t actually a bus.

Unlike many other large cities in Japan, the downtown area of Hiroshima doesn’t have a network of train and subway lines crisscrossing through it. Instead, the city’s network of quaint streetcars is the most convenient way to get around.

However, a recent video shows that the awesomest way to get around is by the famous mode of transportation from Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic anime My Neighbor Totoro: the Catbus.

On a recent evening Hiroshima resident and Twitter user @ryouta_3 was cruising around the city’s Naka Ward, traveling in the left-hand lane. As he glanced over to the sidewalk, he spotted the unmistakable form of the beloved Studio Ghibli character/vehicle

As @ryouta_3 pulls past the puss, we can see that it even has the light-projecting eyes of the anime original.

However, if you’re watching the video with your speakers turned on, you’ll notice that while this looks like the Catbus from Totoro, it doesn’t sound like it. There’s actually a lot of rattling and clanking, because, though it’s hard to see in the video’s dim light, @ryouta_3 says this Catbus is actually a heavily modified bicycle!

The impressive two-wheeled cosplay quickly elicited comments including:

“That is seriously amazing.”
“Wow, the eyes function as bike lights.”
“Awesome. I wish I could have seen it with my own eyes.”
“Hey, if it’s a bus, it shouldn’t be on the sidewalk.”
“Is there a person inside there? I can’t see.”
“Maybe Totoro is inside?”

A few detractors said they’d have been creeped out to encounter the anime-loving bicyclist at night, but they were far outnumbered by appreciative Ghibli fans who said they’d love to be walking down the street and see a Catbus sliding by. Given how much work obviously went into designing the “costume,” it seems certain that the rider wasn’t doing this as a one-time thing, so hopefully we’ll see the Hiroshima Catbus again soon (though if we need to tide ourselves over, there’s always the Catbus at Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum).

Source, images: Twitter/@ryouta_3

Minecraft builders create an amazingly detailed world of Spirited Away, give us a video tour

Who needs a movie when you can just tour the Minecraft recreation?

Minecraft builders have made some truly impressive worlds, and, owing to their beauty and mysticism as well their fame, the settings of everyone’s favorite Ghibli movies are popular inspirations for many. The complex worlds of My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind are just a few that have been perfectly and beautifully recreated with the game’s digital building blocks.

Spirited Away, another world-famous Ghibli film, has been the subject of YouTube user and Minecraft Builder Alan Becker’s attention for four years now, and with the evolution of the game, his Spirited Away world has also evolved. He recently posted a video of his and his team’s updated recreation, and the high level of detail of the town, the bathhouse, and everything around it will blow you away.

Spoiler alert: the video includes a play-by-play of the film, so if you haven’t seen it yet, beware!

The video starts out with a tour of the road that Chihiro’s family drives through on their way to their new home. Since you don’t actually see all that much of the town, Alan Becker and his team painstakingly created much of the town purely based on quick reflections in the windows of the car. Each of the buildings also has a fully furnished and decorated interior, which Becker says they designed based on videos of home tours in Japan.

One of the neatest parts is the recreation of the shot in the title screen, which is composed of rolling green hills and a line of homes. We would venture to guess that many Spirited Away builders would skip this part to focus on the more popular bathhouse, so we appreciate this tribute to the beginning of the movie.

They also recreated the back side of the clock tower that serves as Chihiro’s doorway to the mysterious spirit world, right down to the face of the statue in front.

And of course the colorful and festive-looking empty town behind it was also carefully created. Becker explains that a lot of these buildings are not actually shown in the movie, so they had to be invented by the team. It’s hard to believe that they weren’t based on storyboards from the Ghibli Studio since they look just like they belong there.

Of course, what everyone wants to see from Spirited Away is the great, beautiful bathhouse, which serves as the primary setting for the movie. The details on the exterior are amazing, but the interior is equally impressive.

Both inside and out, every detail is accounted for. As Becker walks us through the bathhouse, he basically shows us each scene of the movie, and it’s clear that his team paid careful attention to every single detail of every scene, no matter how small. It’s extremely impressive. The buildings even include working and moving functions like elevators, steaming water, an opening and closing boiler door, and even the rows of doors leading to Yubaba’s rooms that open in a sequence.

The only thing the recreation lacks is most of the characters of the movie, but that’s much harder to do in Minecraft. Even so, some characters, like the soot balls and No-Face, do appear at certain times, so if you explore the world you might stumble upon some surprises.

▼ Even the treacherous pathway down to the boiler room was meticulously sculpted.

If you want to check out Becker’s Spirited Away world in Minecraft, you can visit their server at play.ghiblicraft.com. It looks like they have some other Ghibli worlds, too, so take your time to look through it carefully! If you don’t play Minecraft but still want to explore the other worlds, Becker’s YouTube channel also has video tours of each one.

If Ghibli is not your thing but you love to look at different Minecraft worlds, check out one builder’s replication of the city of Kyoto. The talent and dedication of these builders is astounding.

Source: YouTube/AlanBeckerMinecraft via Shoutaro Blog
Images: YouTube/AlanBeckerMinecraft