Whether you’re a fan of anime or not, chances are you’ve heard of or seen the animated films of Studio Ghibli. The Japanese animation studio has become a household name—both in Japan and around the world—since it was first founded in 1985. And if you’re a mega-fan of the studio’s popular films, then you’ve probably heard about the Studio Ghibli Museum that sits nestled on the outskirts of Tokyo in Mitaka, Japan. In fact, you may even have plans to visit it on your bucket list. The small museum welcomes visitors year-round, but like most other museums and cultural institutions, it was forced to close temporarily due to COVID-19.
With its doors shuttered from late February until July 2020 and again from late April until early June 2021, the Ghibli Museum lost a lot of valuable revenue brought in by its loyal patrons. Though the city of Mitaka gave the museum a grant in March, it wasn’t enough to fund all the necessary maintenance and upkeep of the museum—putting the beloved cultural gem in danger of closing for good. However, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign started by the city and an outpouring of donations from dedicated fans, the museum will be able to keep itself afloat and again welcome Ghibli fans through its doors.
Started just last Friday, the campaign surpassed its goal of 10 million yen (about $90,000) in less than 24 hours—even with the crowdfunding site only open to residents of Japan. With 195 days still left until its close on January 31, the fundraising efforts have already raised almost 24 million yen (about $218,000) from more than 3,000 donors. The museum will continue to accept donations—which they request be at least 5,000 yen ($45)—until the donation period closes. Hopefully, the money raised will ensure that the Ghibli Museum can continue to welcome fans for many years to come.