Toshio Suzuki & Studio Ghibli Exhibition: What “Words” Does Suzuki Want to Convey Through Ghibli’s Films?

22.April.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FEATURES / SPOT

The Toshio Suzuki & Studio Ghibli Exhibition is currently taking place at EDOCCO Edo Culture Complex at Kanda Shrine from April 20 to May 12. This is the first official large-scale Studio Ghibli exhibition in Tokyo in three years.

This exhibition is focused on the “words” of Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki. It features writings and illustrations by Suzuki as well as the first ever showcasing of the “Yubaba & Zeniba’s Love and Fortune Omikuji,” a model of the Aburaya bathhouse from Spirited Away and much, much more.

On the initial opening day of the exhibition attendees were met by Toshio Suzuki himself as well as Mari Natsuki, the voice actress of Yubaba from Spirited Away. Suzuki expressed his gratitude in being able to hold the event at Kanda Shrine. “I visited here with my mother 2 years ago before she passed away,” he explained.

The two of them took no time at all in getting involved with the event as they drew from the new Yubaba and Zeniba omikuji fortunes.

 

Mari Natsuki’s read, “Live in the here and now.” Some kind of power dwells in this statement. It’s powerful, and feels graceful. I definitely want to get that fortune myself too!

The host speaker asked Suzuki what he has been working on recently to which he replied he has been storyboarding for a new film for the past three years. From his reply it seems that the storyboarding should be finished sometime soon. This is the framework for the film that we’ll get to see in probably around three years or so. I cannot wait for the day to arrive where we get to see a brand new Ghibli movie.

 

The exhibition begins at the red entrance where illustrated lamps are strung up. Toshio Suzuki’s writing lines the event. Inside, the main area is divided into ten chapters. It begins with Suzuki’s childhood and progresses through to today. The written explanations are accompanied by numerous artwork displays.

The words Suzuki has written are done so in a variety of ways including title lettering, slogans, and calligraphy he has done in recent years. There are many different words to read, such as “Balse” from Laputa: Castle in the Sky. I encourage people to stand in front of their favourite words and picture their deeper meaning.

The exhibition also includes an area displaying Suzuki’s favourite films from the Showa era, magazines he is associated with from his time worknig at Tokuma Shoten, and more. Seeing the things that Suzuki loved and was passionate about when he was younger adds a deeper layer to his collection of words―words which have come into fruition through a multitude of experiences.

Set up in the next area are scenes taken from several Studio Ghibli films with famous lines from each work overlaying them. Standing in front of these has you reliving those iconic scenes.

Reading the words and lines throughout the exhibition makes you feel the same feelings as the person who wrote them does: everything from strength to kindness, sadness, serenity. Looking at them, I too feel as Suzuki does.

These are the Yubaba and Zeniba omikuji fortunes that was shown at the beginning of the exhibition. You pull a string, check what number is given to you, and pull out that fortune from inside the mouth. You even get a divine message from Yubaba herself! If you’re at the exhibition and have time be sure to give it a go.

If you don’t have time then there’s some “quick fortunes” available as well.

The final display is a model of the Aburaya bathhouse from Spirited Away. Surrounding it are famous lines said in the movie. This too is a spectacular area.

When you exit the exhibition you will come to a souvenir corner. It has lots of items you can’t gt anywhere else, so be sure to take your time to enjoy everything they have on display.

We bought a wooden ema plaque which is used for writing prayers and wishes on. We wrote on it our hope for MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON to become the number one website in the world!

Tonari no Kakigori Shaved Ice: ¥648

Haku White Rice Onigiri w/ Tea: ¥864

There is also a cafe on the first floor selling food inspired by Studio Ghibli films too. There’s also limited-time food available on certain days for one day only, so if there’s something you want to try I recommend getting there nice and early.

 

The fortune I drew was “excellent luck” and it read, “Live in the here and now.” These words are featured a lot in the exhibition.

 

Live not in the past, but in the here and now. Treasuring what you have now will tie into the future. The now has also determined who I am up to now and will determine who I will become in the future. The exhibition made me realise again that I can be forgetful if I live too busily.

The exhibition is littered with the magical power of Toshio Suzuki’s words. Pay a visit and try finding the words which ring close to you. You never know, you might even find a hint as to how to move forward and live with your head held high.

 

©TS ©Studio Ghibli

Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MMN Editorial Department)

Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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