Remarks on Studio Ghibli’s ‘dismantling’ sows confusion

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

English-language bloggers were quick to react Monday to remarks made by Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki about “dismantling” the studio’s animation production department.

Appearing Sunday on the TV program “Jonetsu Tairiku,” the 65-year-old Suzuki said he was thinking of “shaking up Ghibli’s entire picture” as part of a restructuring plan.

Questions about what he meant by those comments remain unanswered. But many English-language bloggers mistook Suzuki’s comments as official confirmation of rumors that the studio will close its doors after 29 years following the departure last year of renowned director Hayao Miyazaki, and instead focus on managing its copyrights and trademarks.

Contacted by The Japan Times on Monday, a Ghibli staffer declined to share any details, citing the absence in the office of anyone in charge.

On the TV program, Suzuki did admit that Miyazaki’s abrupt retirement last September had a “big” impact on the studio.

“When I think about the future of Ghibli, I suppose it’s not entirely impossible for us to proceed with our production operations,” he said. “But still, I’d say we should take a brief pause here and think about what should be the next step.”

By noon Monday, some bloggers had updated their stories to emphasize that Suzuki is merely thinking of “pausing” Ghibli’s animation production business.

Miyazaki, 73, announced in September that he would no longer produce feature-length animated movies due to his age and attendant physical fatigue.