Japan: A city launches a crowdfunding campaign to save the Totoro Forest

A Japanese city wants to preserve the forest that inspired the famous cartoon “My Neighbor Totoro” thanks to a crowdfunding campaign supported by Studio Ghibli, a spokesperson announced on Tuesday.

The town of Tokorozawa, about 30 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, plans to acquire this 3.5-hectare forest for about 2.6 billion yen (18.3 million euros).

“This area is one of the places where director (Hayao) Miyazaki got his inspiration for Totoro while walking around”Tokorozawa’s spokesman told AFP, adding that the city wanted to turn this forest of some 7,000 trees into a nature reserve.

Totoro, the ghost of the forest and the huge chubby gray creature star of the animated film released in 1988, is one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous characters, at the origin of many other animation successes such as “Spirited Away” or “Princess Mononoke”.

In exchange for a donation of 25,000 yen (175 euros), participants in the campaign aimed at a Japanese audience will receive a set of five prints of drawings made by the animation studio. Initially 1,000 lots will be available with more to be added later, the spokesperson said.

Donations are expected to cover only a small portion of the amount needed to acquire the forest, but the city hopes this campaign will raise awareness and build support for its conservation.


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