At a time when millions of people around the world are forced to remain closed amid strict social distancing measures, Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli Museum has launched an online virtual tour option.
While many galleries and museums begin to steadily reopen their doors with stringent rules on distancing, the premise of travelling to Japan for a visit to the iconic Studio Ghibli collection is nothing but a hopeful dream.
The studio is headed by Miyazaki, the master of animation, who is famed for his work with films such as Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso and many more. With accolades and records lighting up his CV, Miyazaki’s film Princess Mononoke was the first animated film ever to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year.
The museum, which is located in Mitaka, collects memorabilia and more from some of the studio’s most iconic works. “When you walk along Kichijoji Avenue, in the shade of the tall green trees of Mitaka’s Inokashira Park, you come upon a colourful building,” the museum description states. “Standing in front of a sign that says ‘Ghibli Museum, Mitaka’, a very large Totoro welcomes you at the entrance. When you look through the portholes, soot-black Dust Bunnies are there as well. But this is not the real entrance. Totoro shows you where the real entrance is.
“Open the door and welcome to wonderland! Every window and lamp is lovingly hand-crafted with beautiful and colourful stained glass using Ghibli characters, pretty plants and flowers, and forest animals. When the sun is shining, the vivid colours of the glass are reflected in splashes of coloured light on the stone floors.”
The museum has been split into different rooms, all of which are available to view virtually, below.
Meanwhile, read Executive Director Hayao Miyazaki’s description of the museum, below.
This is the Kind of Museum I Want to Make!
A museum that is interesting and which relaxes the soul
A museum where much can be discovered
A museum based on a clear and consistent philosophy
A museum where those seeking enjoyment can enjoy,
those seeking to ponder can ponder, and those seeking to feel can feel
A museum that makes you feel more enriched
when you leave than when you entered!
To make such a museum, the building must be…
Put together as if it were a film
Not arrogant, magnificent, flamboyant, or suffocating
Quality space where people can feel at home,
especially when it’s not crowded
A building that has a warm feel and touch
A building where the breeze and sunlight can freely flow through
The museum must be run in such a way that…
Small children are treated as if they were grown-ups
Visitors with disabilities are accommodated as much as possible
The staff can be confident and proud of their work
Visitors are not controlled with predetermined courses and fixed directions
It is suffused with ideas and new challenges
so that the exhibits do not get dusty or old,
and that investments are made to realize that goal
The displays will be…
Not only for the benefit of people who are already fans of Studio Ghibli
Not a procession of artwork from past Ghibli films
as if it were “a museum of the past”
A place where visitors can enjoy by just looking,
can understand the artists’ spirits,
and can gain new insights into animation
Original works and pictures will be made to be exhibited at the museum
A project room and an exhibit room will be made, showing movement and life
(Original short films will be produced to be released in the museum!)
Ghibli’s past films will be probed for understanding at a deeper level
The café will be…
An important place for relaxation and enjoyment
A place that doesn’t underestimate the difficulties of running a museum café
A good café with a style all its own
where running a café is taken seriously and done right
The museum shop will be…
Well-prepared and well-presented
for the sake of the visitors and running the museum
Not a bargain shop that attaches importance
only to the amount of sales
A shop that continues to strive to be a better shop
Where original items made only for the museum are found
The museum’s relation to the park is…
Not just about caring for the plants and surrounding greenery
but also planning for how things can improve ten years into the future
Seeking a way of being and running the museum
so that the surrounding park will become even lusher and better,
which will in turn make the museum better as well!
This is what I expect the museum to be,
and therefore I will find a way to do it
This is the kind of museum I don’t want to make!
A pretentious museum
An arrogant museum
A museum that treats its contents
as if they were more important than people
A museum that displays uninteresting works as if they were significant