The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo, will mark its 17th anniversary in October this year. Opened in 2001 in the west garden of Inokashira Park in the city, it now welcomes about 700,000 visitors from Japan and abroad annually.
In a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, museum director Kazuki Anzai expressed her resolve to promote the vision of animation director Hayao Miyazaki.
“Even if the museum’s director changes, it’s important to protect what Miyazaki wanted to create,” said Anzai, 53, who took up her post in November 2017.
The Ghibli Museum was planned by Miyazaki, 77, Ghibli’s cofounder and director of some of the studio’s most celebrated films, including “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke.”
Anzai originally worked as an industrial designer and had her own design studio. She joined Studio Ghibli in 1998, when the studio was preparing to open the museum, and was assigned to direct exhibitions that reflect Miyazaki’s view of the world.
Miyazaki drew about 580 rough drafts of the museum interior when the building was being planned. Among them was a boy’s room, its walls covered with illustrations and sketches, and books and glass balls scattered on the floor. Another depicted a central atrium with spiral stairways, bridged passages and other structures surrounding a towering open space that extended to the height of the museum, creating an atmosphere like a maze.
“All the illustrations were fantastic — they depicted a world that I felt immediately drawn into,” Anzai said.
However, when the architectural models were made, Anzai found that they did not accurately reflect the world depicted in Miyazaki’s sketches. Unlike the drafted illustrations, everything was well-balanced. Anzai realized it was not enough to embody Miyazaki’s vision of creating a world that draws people in, just by faithfully recreating his sketches.
“I thought to myself, ‘I will never destroy Miyazaki’s vision,’” Anzai said.
She made repeated changes until the museum’s opening.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Miyazaki’s animated film “My Neighbor Totoro.” Said Anzai: “I hope people watch Studio Ghibli works once again and feel anew their attachment to the films.