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Studio Ghibli fans raise over $200,000 in crowdfunding campaign to save museum

By Kara Santos Published Jul 22, 2021 6:35 pm

Studio Ghibli’s animated films like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke are beloved by millions of fans worldwide.

The Japanese animation studio is considered a household name in Japan and across the globe since it was first founded in 1985. 

For anime fans, the Studio Ghibli Museum located on the outskirts of Tokyo, is one of the top bucket list destinations in Japan, that was in danger of closing due to the pandemic. 

However, thanks to a recent crowdfunding campaign started by the city and an outpouring of donations from fans, the museum has been saved. As reported by the Anime News Network, the crowdfunding campaign managed to reach its target goal in a manner of hours, even if the site was only open to residents of Japan

Launched just last Friday, the campaign surpassed its goal of 10 million yen (about $90,000) in less than 24 hours. With 195 days still left until its close on January 31, the fundraising efforts have already raised over 24 million yen (about $218,000) from more than 3,000 donors, more than double the amount of their target goal.

The crowdfunding campaign initially asked for donations of at least 5,000 yen (about $45) through the Furusato Choice system, which allows Japanese residents to donate to local businesses and claim donations for tax purposes.

Opened in 2001, the Ghibli Museum features a number of displays and magical details including windows and lamps hand-crafted with stained glass of Ghibli characters, gardens filled with forest animals and dust-bunnies, a reading room, a theater, a grassy rooftop garden with the robot from Castle in the Sky and even a large plush Catbus kids can play with.

While the museum normally welcomes visitors year-round with advance reservation tickets typically in high demand, like most other museums and cultural institutions, it was forced to close temporarily due to the pandemic.

With its doors shuttered from late February until July 2020 and again from late April until early June 2021, the Ghibli Museum struggled to stay afloat with the lack of revenue from visitors. Though the city of Mitaka gave the museum a grant in March, it wasn’t enough to fund all the necessary maintenance and upkeep, which put the cultural gem in danger of closing for good. 

The Ghibli Museum will continue to accept donations until the donation period closes on January 31, 2022.

(Images via Studio Ghibli/The Ghibli Museum's Furusato Choice page)