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  • Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition

    20 April – 12 May 2019
    EDOCCO, Kanda Myojin Shrine

    “Miya-san (Director Miyazaki) draws pictures; I draw characters (letters)”.

    This exhibition highlights the “words” of Toshio Suzuki, the famed producer of Studio Ghibli, to better understand the wealth and depth of the production of Japan’s most popular animation studio.

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    Exhibition poster featuring Yubaba, saying “Welcome, everyone! I will make some tea”
    © TS © Studio Ghibli

    Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition

    It has been 40 years since Toshio Suzuki met director Hayao Miyazaki and the late director Isao Takahata for the first time. In their fantastic journey together, they put many masterpieces into the world, from “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” and “Spirited Away”, to “The Wind Rises” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”.

    You might not have seen any of the Ghibli movies, were it not for Toshio Suzuki. The man has been the corner stone of every blockbuster success, with his mastery of capturing the directors’ intentions to put into “words”.

    Suzuki’s words – movie titles, copies and much more – have communicated the essence of each oeuvre to the wider audience, not only general public, but also all those who are involved in the production, promotion and projection of Ghibli movies.

    This delightful show – unfortunately monolingual in the Japanese language – sheds light on some important secrets of Studio Ghibli by tracing Toshio Suzuki’s career through his wonderful calligraphies, drawings and other materials, along with a fun, interactive exhibit featuring Yubaba, a key character in the movie “Spirited Away”.

    The show is being held in an unusual place, within the precincts of Kanda Myojin Shrine, at “EDOCCO”, a recently-opened cultural complex.

    Even without understanding Japanese, you could enjoy the show and its ambiance with familiar Ghibli characters and Suzuki’s fantastic calligraphies. At least, every “omikujifortune slip (read further below) has a brief translation of its main message.

    The exhibit is scheduled to tour to Nagasaki later in July.


    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    © TS © Studio Ghibli

    Highlights of the Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition

    This show is a Studio Ghibli exhibition that takes place for the first time after three years in Tokyo. Based on a previous exhibition (2017-2018) held in Hiroshima and elsewhere in Japan, the present show features “magical words” of the producer Toshio Suzuki, with newly-added exhibits (and souvenirs) appropriate for this special venue.

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    © TS © Studio Ghibli

    ◆ Calligraphies and drawings of Toshio Suzuki

    Toshio Suzuki’s wonderful calligraphies fill the space, depicting words of wisdom and wit, such as “継続は力なり” (Continuous efforts add up to power), and well-versed lines, like “ここで働かせてください” (Please let me work here) of Chihiro in the movie “Spirited Away”.

    Also Suzuki’s handwritings, sketches, drawings and illustrations highlight most significant moments in the history of Ghibli film production.

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    © TS © Studio Ghibli

    ◆ Omikuji fortune telling by Yubaba and Zeniba

    The Tokyo Ghibli show adds a new exhibit of a 3-meter tall, outrageously funny – or bizarre – figure of Yubaba and Zeniba, the old witch twins from “Spirited Away”.

    They will give words of wisdom in the form of fortune telling, Yubaba on love, Zeniba on life in general. Just like “omikuji” found at any Shinto shrine, draw a fortune slip by … pulling one of the hanging ropes out of the mouth of each lady!

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    © TS © Studio Ghibli

    ◆ Was Yubaba modeled after Toshio Suzuki?

    That is a rumor, but the producer Suzuki neither denied nor accepted it. Asked on this point, he just smiled mischievously during a talk held at the show’s avant-premiere on 19 April.

    Yubaba (literally, Old-lady of hot water or hot bath) runs and manages “Aburaya Bathhouse” in the movie Spirited Away. She is a witch that deprives Chihiro of her real name upon her acceptance at the bathhouse. The ability of controlling words and names is the source of Yubaba’s power to control the house. The bathhouse is an allusion to Studio Ghibli itself (or is it?).

    In the fortune-telling exhibit, Suzuki is likened to Yubaba, who emits his words – each slip conveys a message written by the producer himself, such as: “Whatever will be, will be”, followed by his commentary.

    ◆ Instagrammable displays

    There are four displays, including the Yubaba-Zeniba fortune telling and the model of Aburaya Bathhouse, which can be photographed freely, with you or without.

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    Aburaya Bathhouse model © TS © Studio Ghibli

    ◆ Ghibli souvenirs

    For your souvenirs of the exhibit, how about purchasing a Yubaba kokeshi doll, a Yubaba T-shirt or other goods designed by Toshio Suzuki?

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館
    © TS © Studio Ghibli

    ◆ Foods to imagine Ghibli movies

    At “Masu Masu”, the café downstairs, four menus are available to remind of Ghilbli movies. For instance, “Tonari-no-kakigori” is a shaved ice to imagine the forest of Tonari-no-Totoro (“My Neighbor Totoro”).

    鈴木敏夫とジブリ展 神田明神文化交流館

    Important notice

    On 11 and 12 May, the access to the venue may be difficult, due to temporary detours to be set up in the shrine premises for its annual Kanda Matsuri festival.

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.

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