EntertainmentThe Totoro no Furusato Foundation and how it helps...

The Totoro no Furusato Foundation and how it helps the My Neighbor Totoro forest preservation

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Satsuki kusakabe the main character beside a wood spirit
Satsuki Kusakabe beside the wood spirit Totoro. Pic credit: IMDB

The Totoro no Furusato Foundation is a legally incorporated foundation dedicated to preserving Sayama Hills’ unique natural ecosystem and cultural values. Hayao Miyazaki, the Legendary Studio Ghibli director, is a part of this foundation

Sayama Hills is a tranquil woodland location north of Tokyo that inspired director Hayao Miyazaki to produce the iconic Studio Ghibli movie My Neighbor Totoro. This will become a protected green zone thanks to local government engagement and some funding from crowdsourcing.

The director has often emphasized the importance of the natural world in his work, which is evident in everything he produces. His inspiration comes from, if not before, My Neighbor Totoro. And now, the Studio Ghibli icon has received assistance in converting the film’s actual forest into a preserve.

The Totoro no Furusato Foundation

The National Trust of Totoro no Furusato was established in April 1990. It was established to preserve the lush beauty of Sayama Hills for future generations. The foundation received many donations from Japan thanks to five early contributors’ efforts, including film director Hayao Miyazaki.

Mr.Hayao Miyazaki’s animation masterpiece, “Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988),” was inspired by Sayama Hills. It was named after the Trust Fund. The Totoro no Furusato National Trust was incorporated as the “Totoro no Furusato Foundation” in April 1998.

On November 23, 2021, The foundation organized a meeting to honor the 30th anniversary of the foundation’s operations at Kurosuke’s House, a traditional folk house in Tokorozawa. They praised their accomplishments and proposed proposals for ecological conservation and restoration.

The Totoro no Furusato Foundation 30th anniversary meeting.
The meeting is to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the foundation’s activities. Pic credit: The Yomiuri Shimbun

The foundation, which began working to protect Totoro’s Forest in 1990 as the National Trust of Totoro no Furusato, has bought 56 locations totaling around 10.5 hectares in five cities and one town in Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo.

They announced plans for the next ten years, until 2030, to improve the quality of acquired land management by incorporating new ideas; developing a master plan for the preservation of the entire Sayama Hills; and establishing regulations to support national trust activities, as well as an ordinance on the sharing of roles with local governments.

The My Neighbor Totoro forest recent preservation initiative

According to SoraNews24, a 2.6 billion yen ($20 million) preservation initiative will conserve approximately 7,000 trees in the town of Tokorozawa. Hayao Miyazaki lives near the 8.6-acre location known as Kaminoyama and preserving it has long been his passion. The director relocated to the neighborhood in 1970, years before the release of My Neighbor Totoro in 1988. He has recently motivated city leaders to support his “Totoro Next Door” campaign.

The Studio Ghibli-backed crowdsourcing effort will offer five replicas of the film’s background art for 25,000 yen apiece. Residents, as well as individuals from outside the area, are urged to join.

A sample of one of the background art pieces.to be sold
A sample of one of the background art pieces by Miyazaki. Pic credit: Studio Ghibli

The Totoro Background artwork will be B4-size (10.1 x 14.3-inch), with a run of 1,000 sets available for purchase in September. If there is a significant enough demand, Ghibli can add extra runs. Each artwork will be framed in a wooden frame keeping the project’s theme.

There are various museums, centers, walking routes, and a Totoro statue for visitors to enjoy in Totoro’s forest. The Kurosuke House exhibit, Hachikokuyama Park, and Tamichika Cafe are among the most popular attractions.

Studio Ghibli’s upcoming Totoro project

My Neighbor Totoro’s magical world will also be on the stage in 2022. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production will begin a 15-week run at London’s Barbican Centre on October 8, 2022.

The story’s creative team includes author Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer) and executive producer Joe Hisaishi. They composed the songs for several Studio Ghibli films, including Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Totoro.

“…People recognize that picture, his proportions, his looks, they know it,” said Basil Twist, the puppeteer who will bring the chubby Totoro to life on stage. “It has to be correct.”

What are your thoughts on the Totoro no Furusato Foundation? Would you like to go to this nature reserve someday? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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