Studio Ghibli Museum Saved by Crowdfunding

COVID-19 hit many businesses hard, including Japan's Ghibli Museum, which celebrates the films of Studio Ghibli. The pandemic could have potentially forced the museum to close it doors permanently, but thanks to a local crowdfunding campaign, the museum will remain open.

According to the Anime News Network, the Ghibli Museum, located in Mitaka in west Tokyo, experienced a severe decline in revenue because of the pandemic. The museum was temporarily forced to close from Feb. 25, 2020 until July 2020 due to Japan's first declared state of emergency. It was again forced to close earlier this year, from April 25 to early June, because of a third state of emergency. The decline in revenue meant the Ghibli Museum had a massive deficit in its budget and would need assistance in order to complete necessary maintenance and repairs. The museum received a grant from Mitaka City in March but it wasn't enough to cover all the costs. So the residents of Mikata stepped up to save the museum: a crowdfunding campaign started July 16 with a goal of 10 million yen (roughly $90,000); in less than 24 hours, the campaign surpassed that goal. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over 22,000,000 yen (over $200,000), which is over 200% of its original goal.

The Ghilbi Museum opened its door in Oct. 2001 and is dedicated to celebrating the works of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki. It features replicas of iconic Ghibli creations including the robot from Castle in the Sky and the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro, as well as a constant stream of new interactive exhibitions. In 2017 the museum featured a special exhibition dedicated to the food of Studio Ghibli that showed museum goers how to draw and create delectable food through animation. The museum also hosts regular screenings of animated short films from the studio.

The variety of the replicas, the interactivity of the experiences and the regularity in which the Ghibli Museum updates its exhibits means the museum can easily fall into disrepair if there are not sufficient funds available for repairs, general maintenance and upgrades.

However, the crowdfunding campaign for the museum shows that there is plenty of local support and love for the Ghibli Museum in Mikata. Even though the initial goal has been reached, the campaign will continue through Jan. 31, 2022. It requests participants donate at least 5,000 yen (about $45) and notes that the donations can be used as tax write-offs. The campaign is currently not open to international donations.

The Ghilbi Museum is open on most days from 10:0o a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available in limited quantities each day through the museum's website. Many of Studio Ghibli's films, including the studio's most recent offering, Earwig and the Witch, are currently available for streaming on HBO Max.

Source: Anime News Network

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