Fans of Studio Ghibli, the animation powerhouse behind evocative anime hits like ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ and ‘Spirited Away’, will be familiar with Hayao Miyazaki, the studio’s bespectacled and most famous director. But it’s Toshio Suzuki – Studio Ghibli’s lesser-known producer, co-founder and former president – who takes the spotlight at the studio’s upcoming Tokyo exhibition (April 20-May 12) at Kanda Myojin Shrine’s EDOCCO cultural exchange centre.
While the exact contents of ‘Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition’, the studio’s first showing in Tokyo in three years, are being kept secret, what is known is that you can expect to take a deep plunge into the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli. Suzuki is a huge name in the world of calligraphy; on display will be his documents, notes and illustrations from the first days of the studio until now, which reveal thought processes for scenes and plot directions.
For those wanting to take some memorabilia home, there will be an exclusive range of merchandise designed in collaboration with Kanda Shrine for sale, such as specially branded ema and omomori (prayer plaques and amulets). You can also pick up merchandise featuring the face of Yubaba, the proprietor of the magical bathhouse in ‘Spirited Away’, and inspirational quotes from Suzuki, inscribed in his own handwriting.
What’s even more interesting is that there’ll be a Ghibli-inspired menu on offer at the EDOCCO café. Look out for items like ‘Makkuro na kuro goma ohagi no ocha set’, a black sesame sweet rice ball and green tea set (¥864) that pays tribute to the makkuro kurosuke (soot sprites) from ‘Spirited Away’. There’s also the ‘Tonari no Kakigori’ (Neighbour’s kakigori; ¥648), a shaved ice dessert inspired by the magical forest of ‘Tonari no Totoro’ (‘My Neighbour Totoro’), made from frozen spring water flavoured with matcha syrup and sweet red bean paste and topped with sweets shaped like leaves and acorns.