The fantastical world of Studio Ghibli is on display in its first exhibition in Tokyo in three years. The show, called Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli, revolves around the contributions of Toshio Suzuki, the producer and former president of the renowned animation house. His name might be unfamiliar to some fans of Studio Ghibli, but Suzuki was an essential part of the company’s success. Thanks to Suzuki, films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke have become legendary and essential viewing if you love fantastical stories and beautiful animation.
The exhibition pays tribute to the genius of Suzuki, who was a talented calligrapher. The show features some of his writings as well as the things he found inspiring, including Showa-era (1926 – 1989) manga and anime and 70s-era magazines. In addition to his influences, fans of the Ghibli films will enjoy seeing Suzuki’s production notes, sketches, and even how he crafted the taglines for the studio’s promotional material.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is having your fortune told by either Yubaba or her twin sister Zeniba from Spirited Away. Imagined as larger-than-life sculptural heads, you can select one of the women to visit. For a luck-related fortune, visit Yubaba. Want to know about love? See Zeniba for that. Either way, you can reach into their mouths and pull out a number written in Japanese kanji. Visit a nearby dresser and open the drawer that corresponds with your number to reveal your “destiny.”
There is a lot more to see throughout the exhibition, from a miniature display of the Spirited Away bathhouse to a well-appointed gift shop. Photographer and writer Oona McGee visited the exhibition before it was opened to the public and wrote about the experience on SoraNews24, so be sure to check out her insider’s account.
Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli is located at the Edo Culture Complex that’s on the grounds of Kanda Myojin, which is one of Tokyo’s most well-known shrines. The exhibition is on view until May 12, 2019.