Producer of Spirited Away and The Wind Rises wants to make exhibit as accessible as possible, offers partial rebates to advance ticket purchasers.
Anime production house Studio Ghibli has a complex relationship with the commercial side of its art. On the one hand, co-founder Hayao Miyazaki doesn’t mince words when describing his distaste for consumerism, and the company’s shot-callers seem more than willing to essentially close the place down if they’re not feeling a creative spark. But on the other hand, Ghibli also has one of the busiest merchandising arms in Japan, with a ceaseless flow of toys and trinkets featuring its beloved animated characters.
If nothing else, we can all agree that Ghibli understands that a certain amount of financial resources are necessary in order to produce something with the polished quality that the studio has become known for. So when it was announced that Studio Ghibli’s retrospective art exhibition, covering everything from Nausicaa to The Red Turtle, would be coming to Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills with admission priced at 2,300 yen (US$22), most people nodded their heads in acceptance, assured that the works on display would justify the price being charged to see them.
But there was one person the price just didn’t sit right with: veteran Studio Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki.
Two weeks ahead of the exhibit’s July 7 opening, its official website has posted the following message from Suzuki, who served as producer on films including Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and The Wind Rises:
“Sorry for being selfish.”
“Finally, the exhibition is about to come to Tokyo. I’d like many people to come see it. But the 2,300-yen entrance fee has been bothering me. Ahead of the opening day, I talked with Studio Ghibli Producer Aoki, and asked “Can’t we make the admission price the same as a movie ticket?” I think this caused some problems for the event’s organizers, but they gave their agreement.”
“I want many people to see the exhibit. I deeply want that, so we’ve changed the admission price to 1,800 yen! Please, come see the sweat and tears that Studio Ghibli has been putting into its works for 30 years.”
▼ And if those words aren’t enough to communicate Suzuki’s sentiments, there’s also this illustration of him drawn by From Up on Poppy Hill director Goro Miyazaki.
1,800 yen is indeed the standard price for a movie ticket in Japan, and with Studio Ghibli’s anime having been almost exclusively created for theatrical release, the new price point is both generous and appropriate.
But what about all the people who pre-purchased their tickets when they became available last month? Not to worry. If you’ve already bought your ticket, simply take it to the museum counter when you arrive, and they’ll refund you 500 yen on the spot.
Given how many cool pieces of Ghibli merchandise there are in Japan, we’re sure you’ll have no problem finding something to put that extra cash towards.
Ghibli Exhibition ~ From Nausicaa to their newest work, The Red Turtle ~ / ジブリの大博覧会 ～ナウシカから最新作「レッドタートル」まで～
Location: Roppongi Hills Tokyo City View Observation Deck Sky Gallery
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-10-1, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 52nd floor
Hours: 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (entry until 9:30 p.m.)
Dates: July 7 – September 11
Admission: 1,800 yen (US$17)
It won’t get you 500-yen, but you can follow Casey on Twitter here.