Miyazaki Helps Stop Development of "Totoro's Forest" (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
My Neighbor Totoro director leads citizens group against developers

Update: A layman's description of the forest's size has been added.

Tokyo-area business interests said on September 14 that they would halt plans to commercially develop a patch of trees near the Fuchi no Mori forest area — best known as the real-life scenery inspiration for director Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro film. Citizens in the nearby city of Higashimurayama and director Miyazaki himself protested the project, which led to the city buying the patch from the owners to convert it into public land.

The patch that had been planned for development spanned 1,500 square meters (0.37 acre, just over a quarter the size of an American football field), and is located next to the 4,600-square-meter (1.1-acre) Fuchi no Mori. The Chunichi Shimbun paper posted a map of its location, which is west of the Shin-Akitsu station on Japan Railways' Musashino Line and the Akitsu Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro train line. Urban development had already isolated this patch of trees from the Fuchi no Mori area which inspired the backgrounds in Miyazaki's movie. However, media coverage of the controversy have nicknamed the patch "Totoro's Forest."

Miyazaki, in his role as chairperson of the Council for the Preservation of Fuchi no Mori, met with the landowners and developers on September 13 to convey the council's requests: "Stop the development. Let it remain green." He said, "I'm glad we could preserve this landscape with the help of so many people."

Thank you to enjin2000 for the news tip.

Image © 1988 Nibariki, Ghibli

This article has a follow-up: Miyazaki's Group Raises 73 Million Yen to Save Forest (2007-10-09 17:14)
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