On November 1, Ghibli Park, a park themed around the world of Studio Ghibli’s works, opened in Aichi Prefecture.
Studio Ghibli is Japan’s premier animation production studio. Almost every animated feature film produced is known to the entire nation. Representative works include “Laputa: Castle in the Sky” (1986), which drew 1.3 million viewers in France, and “Spirited Away” (2003), which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Studio Ghibli films are available on Netflix in 190 countries worldwide.
The studio is symbolized by Hayao Miyazaki, who writes and directs animated films. The characters he portrays are honest, melancholy, and tickles our heart. He announced his retirement in 2013, and after his departure, having worked on most of the studio’s productions, the question became who would succeed him. The person who was to take over him was his son, Goro Miyazaki. As is often the case, a son who follows a great father can have a strained father-son relationship. His son, Goro, made several films after his father declared his retirement, then each time his father pointed out his shortcomings and kept telling him, “You still don’t know anything”. Sometimes, without being asked, he would redraw a picture that his son had drawn and confront him with it.
And it was his son, Goro, who designed and supervised the newly opened Ghibli Park. He was a landscape architect before he took a job as an animation director following his father’s retirement. Landscape architects are architectural professionals who use design methods to build cities with safety, health, and welfare in mind. This is precisely the kind of work in which he is in his element. His father, Hayao, immediately visited the park on the first day of its opening. This is to check the work of the rival (his son). He had never praised his son before, but “I can’t imitate him. There is something interesting here that I can’t come up with”, he muttered repeatedly. This was the moment when the son’s suffering, which could be described as a father’s curse, was rewarded.
Goro said that since the project was to be carried out in Aichi Prefecture as a public works project, he wanted to use as much prefectural lumber as possible for building materials. He also tried to use local tiles and pottery as much as possible. And he wants the park to be a park that tries to keep what is there in good condition without being too expansionist.
Whether inspired by his son’s work or not, his father, Hayao, now 81, has withdrawn his retirement declaration and is now producing an animated feature film. The son said, “When I heard my father was retiring, I took on the job of supervising the construction of the theme park because the people at the company wouldn’t be able to make movies. I feel like I’ve had the rug pulled from under me.” He joked.