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Hayao Miyazaki Does Volunteer Work at 'Totoro's Forest'

posted on by Egan Loo
200 join effort at forest that inspired film; director raised money to protect nearby land

On Sunday, anime director Hayao Miyazaki joined 200 other people in doing volunteer work to maintain Fuchi no Mori, the forest area near Tokyo that inspired the scenery in Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro film. The volunteers cleared the weeds and other materials that prevented some of the natural vegetation from growing.

Developers had planned to make a nearby patch of trees into a housing complex, but stopped amid protests from Miyazaki, local residents, and supporters from all over Japan in 2007. Later that year, he and other supporters presented about 73 million yen (US$620,000) to the city of Higashimurayama to preserve the patch.

The Fuchi no Mori area spans 5,700 square meters (1.4 acres, or just slightly bigger than the size of an American football field). The artists from the American computer animation studio Pixar and other studios held a charity in 2008 to help preserve another forested area in the Sayama Hills that inspired Totoro. Miyazaki offered to design a new park on a Tokyo parcel of land where a house known as "Totoro's Home" once stood until it burned down in 2009. The restored park opened last year.

Source: NHK

Image © 1988 Nibariki, Ghibli

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