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My Neighbor Totoro Locale Inspiration Tokorozawa Erects Ghibli Monument

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Movie song jingle also plays at Tokorozawa station

Director Hayao Miyazaki once lived in the city of Tokorozawa in the Saitama Prefecture and was inspired to create My Neighbor Totoro from his memories of the area. Now the city has unveiled a monument inspired by the classic Studio Ghibli film.

The 170-centimeter tall bronze statue, which depicts the iconic Catbus, Mei, and Totoro, was unveiled at Tokorozawa Station on Wednesday. Local kindergarten children assisted with the unveiling.

Starting from Tuesday, a song from the movie has also started playing as a jingle whenever a train leaves the Tokorozawa station. The date coincides with the 70th anniversary of Tokorozawa's municipal enforcement.

Hayao Miyazaki left a message to commemorate the occasion: "I want my beloved Tokorozawa to preserve its greenery and its landscapes from long ago."

The recent installations are part of a bigger effort by Tokorozawa City to ramp up anime-related tourism. Kadokawa opened its interactive anime concept hotel "EJ Anime Hotel" in Tokorozawa in October. The hotel will be part of the Tokorozawa Sakura Town facility, which itself is part of Kadokawa and Tokorozawa City's collaboration project "Cool Japan Forest Vision." The purpose is to draw foreign visitors to the often neglected Saitama area.

Sources: NHK, Nikkei

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