Miyazaki and Friends Volunteering at Totoro's Forest

While those of us in the United States spent our Sunday watching the Packers and the Steelers, Hayao Miyazaki and 200 volunteers spent their day cleaning up the preserved forest Fuchi no Mori, or more commonly known as "Totoro's Forest."  The 5,700 square meter area in Higashi-Murayama (nearby Tokorozawa, where Miyazaki-san lives) served as the inspiration for the pristine wilderness in My Neighbor Totoro.

Plans for residential development in this area were defeated in 2007, thanks to the work of Miyazaki and local residents.  Later that year, they presented the city of Higashimurayama 73 million yen ($620,000) to preserve the land.  In 2008, Pixar organized a charity art auction to raise money for another forest preserve in the Sayama Hills; this area was also an inspiration for Totoro.

Thanks to NHK and Anime News Network for the report.


Anonymous said...

I have to commend Miyazaki-san in his local cleanup efforts, whether in the forest that inspired Totoro or in the river that inspired the scene in Spirited Away, because he is one of the few individuals who deliberately tries to live his life according to the philosophy that he espouses through his works. Based on the video, the fact that he encourages his Japanese fans and followers to help him out that day, in his constant efforts to preserve natural spaces and resources, shows that even his renown pessimism for human disruption in nature can be tempered with realistic resolve through responsible action.

Megan Kearney said...

Having been exposed first hand to the pessimism that pervades the western (or at least Canadian) animation industry, it is a delight and a wonder to see what Miyazaki and Ghibli have chosen to do. I certainly hope that the young generation of animators (who spend a ponderous amount of time imitating their director/designer heroes in interests and actions) will latch on to this idea and make it their own cause here at home.

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