After weathering more than a year of COVID-related financial problems, Mitaka, Japan’s Ghibli Museum could have gone under, left to be abandoned and overgrown with lovingly animated shrubbery that illustrates how ephemeral all human industry appears against the natural world’s instinctual urge to subsume our work into itself. Thanks to the launch of a crowdfunding effort, however, it’s been saved, leaving that kind of imagery safely confined to the famed studio’s art.
Anime News Network recently reported that the museum’s crowdfunding page, launched last Friday, has managed to fly past its 10 million yen goal (about $90,000 USD) “in less than 24 hours.” It currently stands at almost 24 million yen, which is 239.7 percent higher than the baseline amount and even more impressive when learning that only residents of Japan are able to donate to the fundraiser, that the lowest amount that can be pledged is 5,000 yen (about $45 USD), and that this is just the first few days of a campaign that will continue running until January 31 of next year.
The same article translates some of the crowdfunding page, noting the museum’s “huge decline in revenue from ticket sales” during the pandemic, something that’s resulted in “a large deficit” that’s left it unable to “cover the cost for larger repairs and maintenance.” (God only knows what kind of upkeep goes into its adult-sized Catbus.) This deficit comes from its frequent closures during the pandemic, which saw it shuttered from February 25 to July, 2020 and then again, more recently, from April 25 to last month.
We can just imagine Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki being informed that the museum has been saved: An assistant coming into his workspace to share the good news so he can blow cigarette smoke in their face, scowl at being interrupted, and explain in understated tones exactly why all this hard work is somehow disgusting to him.
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