Some of the most talented Japanese artisans have come together for a unique collaboration. Inspired by Totoro, the cuddly protagonist of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro (1988), this new collection spotlights some traditional Japanese crafts, resulting in a charming line of memorabilia.
The new Totoro items were created by artists connected to Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten, a purveyor of traditional Japanese crafts. The collection features wooden Totoro figures, paper treasure boxes, tiny flower vases, plates, handkerchiefs, t-shirts, bell amulets, and traditional wrapping cloth, known as furoshiki.
Each object in the collection is handmade by different creators across Japan. This includes wooden Totoro figures that are carved by skilled artisans in Inami, the Japanese capital of woodcarving. The little sculptures are brought to life with 50 kinds of chisels to achieve various details like Totoro's big belly and fluffy appearance. On top of that, the wood used in these whimsical sculptures comes from a kusunoki or Camphor Tree, the very same tree that Totoro lives in in the film.
The treasure boxes in the collection were made with children in mind, offering them a safe place to keep all the trinkets and plants they pick up on their adventures. Decorated with tiny Totoro figures in soft hues, these boxes are made by Keijusha, a stencil dyeing Japanese paper maker from Toyama.
Among the tiniest items in the collection are the flower vases and the bell amulets; but, don't let their size fool you—they are just as detailed and made with love. The small flower vases are made and painted by hand in the famed Yozan Kiln in Ureshino City of Saga Prefecture, which was founded over two centuries ago. The company in charge of the bell amulets has been around for even longer. The Odawara artisans have been praised for their work since the 1500s, having outfitted many generations of samurai.
Ultimately, this unique collection celebrates not only the legacy of My Neighbor Totoro, but also shines a light on several traditional Japanese crafts. While the coveted wooden figures are sold via a lottery, the rest of the collection can be found on Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten's website. It should be noted that they are in short supply due to their popularity and their handcrafted nature.”It is a product that is difficult to make in large quantities at once because it is made by craftsmen by hand,” the company shares. “We appreciate your understanding as we are continuing to manufacture products so that we can deliver them as quickly as possible, as quantities are not limited.”