New Totoro merchandise combines cute anime with ancient Japanese pottery traditions

Totoro chopstick rests, lanterns, cups, and figurines created by Shigaraki craftsmen specialising in tanuki raccoon dog figurines.

Japan has a long and revered history of pottery making that stretches all the way back to the Jōmon period (10,000–300 BCE), making it one of the world’s oldest ceramic traditions in the world.

Today, this esteemed history of earthenware production is being upheld by the country’s most noteworthy ceramic kilns, known as the Six Ancient Kilns, consisting of Seto ware and Tokoname ware in Aichi Prefecture, Bizen ware in Okayama Prefecture, Echizen ware in Fukui Prefecture, Tamba ware in Hyogo Prefecture, and Shigaraki ware in Shiga Prefecture.

All these kilns produce distinctive styles of pottery unique to their area, and for Shigaraki ceramicists, their claim to fame is the tanuki raccoon dog figure, commonly seen outside ramen restaurants as a lucky figure that helps draw good fortune to their business.

▼ This promotional display for the town that produces
Shigaraki Ware showcases the tanuki they’ve become famous for.

Image: ©SoraNews24 

Now, the tanuki craftsmen are using their skills to craft a series of products dedicated to an equally rotund and adorable character: Totoro from the Studio Ghibli anime film My Neighbour Totoro.

The new collection of handmade merchandise has been created by Shiga Prefecture’s Meizan Ceramics using sandy clay from the bed of Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan, which gives each piece a distinctive warm orange hue.

▼ This three-piece Totoro set retails for 11,664 yen (US$105).

The price might seem steep, but each piece has been carefully handmade by a master craftsman in the centuries-old Shigaraki ware tradition.

In addition to the Totoro figurine trio, Meizan have created some other items in homage to Totoro and his anime friends, like this chopstick rest set, which retails for 2,916 yen.

The four-piece set contains a small, medium and large Totoro, along with a black soot sprite seen in the film.

And if you want to add some matching drinkware to your chopstick rests, Meizan have created these adorable handcrafted mugs in green and white, which retail for 3,240 yen each.

Rounding off the Totoro homewares collection is this LED lamp, which has been so delicately made it allows light to seep through its surface.

▼ Retailing for 4,104 yen, this is one of the most popular Totoro items in their range.

The complete collection is currently available to purchase from the Village Vanguard online store, where some items have been so popular they’ve already sold out. However, out-of-stock products are still in stock at the official Meizan site, which offers international shipping, so you’ll be able to add these to your other limited-edition Totoro collectibles, no matter what country you’re living in!

Source: Meizan via Japaaan
Featured image: Village Vanguard
Insert images: Meizan, Village Vanguard (1, 2, 3, 4)

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

Seiko to release new Ghibli watches, including limited-edition 30th anniversary Totoro watches

Fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service will also want to check these out.

It’s a great time to be a Ghibli fan right now. With the Ghibli amusement park in the works, an adorable Totoro cafe opened in Thailand, and Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki out of retirement, fans have numerous things to look forward to from their favorite animated film studio.

Plus, even with tons of great Ghibli merchandise already available, new Ghibli products are always becoming available. Adult fans of My Neighor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service may especially like the newest line of casual watches from Seiko which feature adorable motifs from these classic animated movies.

This collection of eight watches is from Seiko’s brand for everyday wear, Alba, and are designed to be affordable, stylish watches that fans of Ghibli can wear at any age. Each of the face designs are subtle yet adorable, while the straps and casings of the watches are sleek and chic. They’re designed with women in mind, but of course any Ghibli fan can appreciate their mature homage to these beloved films.

The watches’ faces come in four different designs for each movie, totalling eight unique varieties, and the leather straps come in seven different colors, so hopefully anyone can find a style that they like.

But the faces are not the only Ghibli-specific features: the back of the straps and the stainless steel watch case are also engraved with Totoro and Kiki motifs. Fans can appreciate the quiet nods to the films on every corner of these new watches.

In addition to the eight styles above, two limited-edition My Neighbor Totoro watches are going to be released exclusively to celebrate the movie’s thirtieth anniversary. The face’s design comes in ivory and black, and features a small Totoro peeking over a flower garden and holding a four-leaf clover.

These watches are limited to just 1,000 units in each style and come with a serial number on the back of the case ranging from 0001 to 1000, which verify their authenticity. They’ll also have the words “30th Anniversary” engraved on the back and will come in a cute “30th Anniversary” box, so these are guaranteed to become super collector’s items.

Each of the regular edition watches will be priced at 9,000 yen (US$81.64) and will be on sale from July 7, while the limited edition Totoro watches will retail for 15,000 yen starting from August 4. The company are being coy about where you can get these, making them real collector’s items, and while there’s no word yet of overseas or online sales, visitors to Japan may want to look out for them at Ghibli merchandise shop Donguri Kyowakoku or any store where Seiko watches are sold as soon as they can.

Looking for more Ghibli goods? Totoro collectors will love the limited-edition handmade reproduction cels of the film, which are now available for preorder, and fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service might also like Donguri Kyowakoku’s new line of Kiki perfumes. If you’re a Ghibli fan, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a product out there for you!

Source, Images: PR Times

Studio Ghibli creates gorgeous hand-made Totoro reproduction cels for fans and collectors【Video】

An iconic image from Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic is ready to adorn the walls of superfans’ homes.

Like many fans of Japanese animation, my student-day bedroom walls used to be covered in cheap bootleg wall scrolls of anime art, as well as even cheaper laminated color photocopy posters of anime art. Now a full-grown adult, I’ve had to scale back the fanboy elements of my home décor, but this gorgeous piece of Studio Ghibli artwork is classy enough to grace the walls of any home.

One of the most beloved images associated with director Hayao Miyazaki’s 1988 classic My Neighbor Totoro, the scene shows sisters Mei and Natsuki frolicking through a field of tall grass, accompanied by the titular forest spirit and his tiny white version. Awash with warm color, it’s a throwback to an earlier era of anime visuals, instilling a sense of nostalgia even in those who didn’t personally live through that age, much like Studio Ghibli’s films themselves do.

To celebrate My Neighbor Totoro’s 30th anniversary, Studio Ghibli is producing a limited (and unspecified) number of reproduction cels. And if the idea of “reproduction” has you thinking that some corporate moneygrubber is just sitting at a computer and clicking “print” over and over again, think again. Each cel is hand-made by Studio Ghibli artists using a silk-screening process, as demonstrated in this preview video.

▼ The cel is colored on both sides, with the character colors applied to its back and the environmental ones to its front.

While this particular drawing doesn’t appear in the film proper, it’s become one of the most iconic pieces of key art for Totoro. Each reproduction cel comes with background art and a frame made of Japanese Kishu Hinoki cypress, bears a hand-printed “edition number,” and is bundled with a certificate of authenticity from Studio Ghibli.

Preorders for the artwork, officially called Cel Art Print From Studio Ghibli My Neighbor Totoro, are now being taken online here through Ghibli merchandise specialist Donguri Kyowakoku. Each cel/frame combo is priced at 70,000 yen (US$640), with shipping scheduled for late July.

Sources: IT Media, PR Times
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times, YouTube/どんぐり共和国そらのうえ店, Donguri Kyowakoku

May’s Garden House Restaurant: The first Totoro-themed restaurant officially licensed by Studio Ghibli

The grand opening is scheduled for late May.

For Studio Ghibli fans around the world, a visit to the Ghibli Museum in Japan is a dream destination. Now, though, there’s a new spot vying for everyone’s attention, and surprisingly, it’s not in the animation studio’s home country of Japan – it’s in Thailand instead.

Called May’s Garden House Restaurant, the new establishment is the first Totoro-themed restaurant officially licensed by Studio Ghibli. While the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka district is home to the Straw Hat Cafe, where diners can enjoy a changing menu of items inspired by a number of Ghibli films, an official restaurant dedicated solely to the star of My Neighbour Totoro has never existed…until now.

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Located in Sukhumvit, Bangkok, May’s Garden House Restaurant has been inviting guests to dine with them during their pre-opening period, which began on 16 April. With guests providing feedback on the menu and the facilities, the restaurant’s grand opening is scheduled for the end of May, by which time some of their yet-to-be-unveiled areas, like the Children’s Playground, the Orchid Glasshouse, the Boat Water Pool, the Library and two Halls are scheduled to be completed.

▼ While adults will love the new restaurant, many of the areas inside have been designed with children in mind.

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A first look at the interiors show there are a lot of Totoro surprises in store for visitors.

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▼ Meals will be served in a bright and spacious dining room, with a giant Totoro to keep everyone company.

While the menu is yet to be finalised, some of the offerings provided to guests during the pre-opening period look to be pretty delicious.

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▼ Totoro’s Forest in Thailand is filled with Isaan food!

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As well as Thai soups and curries, there are other more meaty dishes on the menu, like chicken wings.

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The significance of the chicken wings on the menu harks back to the intriguing story that led to the actual creation of the restaurant. According to a discussion by Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki on Tokyo FM Radio, the idea for the restaurant came about after one of his visits to Thailand, where he met up with an acquaintance who was a single mother working to provide for her young children and extended family in the rural Pak Thong Chai Village.

The half-Thai, half-Japanese woman called Kanyada owned a humble stall that served up delicious chicken wings, which Suzuki immediately fell in love with. However, on a recent trip back to the restaurant, the owner told him she would have to shut the restaurant, as there weren’t enough customers visiting the rural town to keep her in business.

▼ Suzuki says Pak Thong Chai Village in Nakhon Ratchasima Province brought back memories of the Japanese countryside from his childhood, and also conjured up images of Totoro’s Forest.

Coincidentally, Kanyada’s nickname was May, similar to the main character of Mei in My Neighbour Totoro, which gave Suzuki the idea for the new restaurant. Touched by her plight, he called it “May’s Garden House Restaurant”, and designed it so that the flavours and atmosphere of May’s rural town could be brought to the city of Bangkok, where diners could conjure up images of the countryside while chowing down on those tasty chicken wings.

▼ Suzuki was the driving force behind the opening of the new restaurant in Thailand.

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Suzuki’s love for Kanyada’s chicken wings may have also been the inspiration behind Colko and Peeko, two characters that he designed exclusively for May’s Restaurant.

These original mascots also bear a resemblance to the Siamese Fireback, the national bird of Thailand.

Aside from the cute merchandise, there’ll also be some adorable meals to choose from, with Italian owner-chef Federico Colpi, a colleague of Suzuki’s from the anime industry, overseeing the development of the menu.

Fluffy Mini Totoro Steamed Buns In Caramel Sauce.

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Neko Bus Has Come To Town

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May’s Hat

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A Gift From Totoro

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Totoro in the Rain

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Sleeping Totoro

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And while you feast on Totoro, the characters from the film will be there to greet you at every turn, including a giant Totoro that everyone is bound to fall in love with.

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Suzuki also designed the sign for the restaurant, playing up the Totoro theme with an image of the Cat Bus from the movie.

So whether you’re able to make it over to Thailand or not, you can expect your Instagram feed to soon be inundated with cute images of Totoro and friends from May’s Garden House Restaurant. Here are the details below so you can get in on the action too!

Restaurant Information
May’s Garden House Restaurant
Address: 18 Soi Lak Khet (Sukhumvit Soi 29), Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok, Thailand
Hours: 12:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

Source: Facebook/May’s Garden House Restaurant via Ghibli no Sekai
Featured image: Instagram/May’s Garden House Restaurant

Nothing can make us wish we were kids again harder than this Totoro Catbus rocking horse【Pics】

Luckily there’s still one way for grown-up Studio Ghibli anime fans to enjoy it.

Sometimes, Donguri Kyowakoku, the chain of shops filled with amazing Studio Ghibli anime merchandise, makes us think growing up might not be so bad. Sure, you might be too old to go on magical adventures like Hayao Miyazaki’s preteen protagonists, but you can still keep a connection to them with beautiful Ghibli character folding fans and elegant body mist fragrances.

And then there are times like this, when Donguri Kyowakoku makes us wish, with all our hearts, that we could be kids again.

Instead of a rocking horse, Donguri Kyowakoku offers a rocking Catbus, as in the feline transportation that appears in My Neighbor Totoro, as well as in the dreams of every Ghibli fan whose heart is filled with a bittersweet feeling every time they ride mundane, non-cat-based public transportation in the real world.

Donguri Kyowakoku says the polyester-covered Catbus’ seat is as soft as a stuffed animal, to provide maximum comfort for its rider.

Speaking of its materials, the frame being made of wood, not plastic, would make old-fashioned nature lover Miyazaki smile (inwardly, of course).

▼ Raise your hand if you never noticed those are mice on top of the Catbus.

Alas, the Catbus rocker is a mere 65 centimeters (25.6 inches) long, making it actually closer in size to the Kitten Bus seen in the sequel to Totoro. That means it’s too small for any Ghibli fan with grown-up-class leg length, body weight, or buttocks area. Instead it’s recommended for riders aged 1 to 4, though the company helpfully points out that while it’s too small for adults to ride, it is large enough to make a lovely/loveable interior accent that you can also pet if you feel like it.

The rocking Catbus is priced at 34,560 yen (US$320), and can be ordered here through Donguri Kyowakoku’s online shop.

Related: Donguri Kyowakoku
Source, images: Donguri Kywakoku

New illustrated Studio Ghibli folding fans: A beautiful way to deal with Japan’s summertime heat

Totoro, Jiji, and No Face are here to provide a cool breeze as you set out on warm-weather adventures of your own.

If you’re an anime fan who’s planning a trip to Japan, it’s pretty much a given that going to Donguri Kyowakoku, the chain of shops stocked with amazing Studio Ghibli merchandise, is something you’ll be doing. And should said trip to Japan happen during the next few months, another thing you’ll definitely be doing is sweating profusely, thanks to the high temperatures and humidity of Japan’s summer months.

So while you’re tossing voice-activated Laputa levistone pendants and moving No Face coin banks into your shopping basket, make sure you leave a little room in your budget for some of these gorgeous Ghibli Japanese-style folding fans to help keep yourself cool.

Four designs are available, starting off with the Cool Breeze Totoro, which features the beloved Studio Ghibli mascot on a deep blue background, with a soot spirit ornament dangling from the base of the fan.

If you’re after a more classically feminine look, or want all three differently colored versions of Totoro together, the Wisteria Totoro has the large gray and medium blue forest spirits on the fan itself, with the micro-sized white one as the ornament.

Summer Smile Kiki’s Delivery Service may not feature the tituar witch herself, but the logo of her (also titular) business is found at the far right. Multiple images of Kiki’s easygoing familiar Jiji appear on a field of sunflowers, with the black cat also taking on the ornament role.

And last, in the Camellia Spirited Away fan, decorated with a soot sprite ornament, it’s No Face who immediately draws the eye, but let your perspective expand a bit and you’ll discover Haku, in his dragon form, streaking across the sky.

Should you worry that carrying these lovingly illustrated fans around in your bag will leave them soiled and bruised, Donguri Kyowaoku also has a cloth fan pouch, although only the Cool Breeze Totoro motif is offered.

▼ Front and back sides shown

The fans measure 21 centimeters (8.3 inches) in radius, and are priced at 2,980 yen (US$28), while the pouch sells for 900 yen. All go on sale later this month at Donguri Kyowakoku branches and the chain’s online shop, and should you still be looking for Ghibli-inspired ways to deal with Japan’s humid summers, the Kiki’s Delivery Service body mist fragrance line would be a good place to start.

Related: Donguri Kyowakoku, Donguri Kyowakoku online store
Sources: Japaaan, PR Times
Images: PR Times