An initiative to preserve the forest in the Tokorozawa area of the Saitama Prefecture, which inspired Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro, has been launched. Tokorozawa mayor Masato Fujimoto announced the plans that will have support from Studio Ghibli.
The preservation initiative entails a plan to spend around ¥1.8 billion (around US$13.4 million) in order to buy back around 3.5 hectares from landowners. Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki has been reported to have donated ¥300 million (around US$2.23 million) so far.
To augment the costs of the initiative, Studio Ghibli has announced that they will be launching a campaign in September of this year. It will involve selling 1,000 sets of reproduced background art from My Neighbor Totoro, costing around ¥25,000 yen (around US$186) per piece.
The forest area, known to the locals as Kaminoyama, consists of around 7,000 trees. It is part of the city’s 27.2 hectare land readjustment project, which was launched back in 2020.
My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 fantasy anime film written and directed by Miyazaki. Box Office Mojo notes that the film earned around US$30,574,632 worldwide, with US$2,250,213 earned in the US. The movie follows two young girls who move to the countryside with their father. Soon they meet a new neighbour – a mysterious youkai Totoro.