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Hayao Miyazaki Is Building a Magic Forest Park of Dreams

Sounds like Totoro country to us.
By Imogen Baker
September 10, 2015
By Imogen Baker
September 10, 2015

Japan’s beloved illustrator, director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki is once again helping us believe in the good of humanity with his latest passion project. Miyazaki is building a park on Kume Island, in the Okinawa Prefecture, a park intended to preserve and celebrate nature and remind children that, to quote Miyazaki himself, “It’s good to be alive.” Pass the tissues please  ;_;.

The park, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, will inhabit 10,000 square metres of pristine forest and Miyazaki has donated $2.5 million towards the project. Although he is often touted as the Walt Disney of Japan, their parks couldn’t be more dissimilar. Miyazaki’s park will have room for just 30 guests, which leaves a whole lot of space for running through the woods and recreating iconic scenes from Princess Mononoke. And construction and development will be centred around using only local building techniques, resources and labour so you know, it’s the exact opposite of a soulless Disney theme park (and far removed from the beautifully depressing Banksy kind).

Here's the plan for Miyazaki's pristine nature park:


Perhaps you'll find a few little trolls in the woods:


Or little kodama doing their thing:


Or a casual forest spirit, hangin':


Miyazaki has always been an unwavering social critic, picking apart the wrongs of society in both his films and his public commentary. The countless allegories for environmentalism in his films are not lost on the audience but unlike many celebrity crusaders, he can often be found quietly doing the hard yards as well.

Earlier this year he ran a mass public clean-up of the Fuchi no Mori forest, which he saved from development 20 years earlier with a $2.56 million dollar donation, and which is believed to have inspired the setting of My Neighbour Totoro. In the 2013 documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness he told documentarian Mami Sunada of walking to work every day with a rubbish bag in hand to clean up the streets and spending his weekend in gumboots, cleaning up the local river. He might actually be the river spirit from Spirited Away.

So, now we all have a few new items to add to the bucket list, including ‘clean rivers’, ‘visit Kume’ and ‘become modern day version of Princess Mononoke’. All are now possible.

Via Good Magazine.

Published on September 10, 2015 by Imogen Baker
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