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Updated: Kokuriko-zaka and Nico Nico Douga

Nico Nico Douga and Studio Ghibli announced a Kokuriko-zaka promotion project (non-registration mirror). Nobuo Kawakami, chairman of the Japan-based video service's parent company Dowango, was joined by Toshio Suzuki for the announcement. A sample of the Aoi Teshima theme song Sayonara no Natsu can be heard in the video clip. An Aoi Teshima concert will be held in Nicofarre. Studio Khara (run by Hideaki Anno) is producing the images used in the concert.

Nico Nico Doga will broadcast the Kokuriko-zaka production completion announcement press conference on July 4. A preview of the film from Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama city follows the press conference but will not be broadcast.

Suzuki asked Kawakami for Kokuriko-zaka advertising cooperation on his radio show. Kawakami suggested that he work under Suzuki as a probationer. The Nico video clip shows his business card which is written as Studio Ghibli Probationer Producer.

Kawakami has begun the serialization of a "Ghibli probation diary" on Yomiuri Online. The first entry is about the trained and calm actions of Ghibli staff members during the earthquake. The serialization is updated on every Tuesday.

Thanks to T. Ishikawa for the news.

--LLin 03:26, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Film Music Festival Photos

The Krakow (Poland) based festival has posted a series of photos from before and during the concert. Joe Hisaishi is featured in several of the pictures.

Thanks to T. Ishikawa for the news.

--LLin 06:38, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Updated: Memories of Seiichiro Ujiie

The latest episode of Toshio Suzuki's radio show mourns the passing of Seiichiro Ujiie, NTV CEO who died on March 28 at the age of 84.

Sachiko Kagami read the memorial text "About Ujiie-san" written by Suzuki, excerpts follow:

I had prepared for Ghibli Museum with production of Princess Mononoke, but funding was short by circumstances of the diversity. Because the bank suggested the idea of raising funds from other people, I remembered Ujiie-san. I don't know why I remembered a negative person for the culture business, but I acted on intuition. I decided to show the scale model of the museum first and Ujiie-san responded with "good". "But we do not have enough funds" I said. Ujiie-san had begun to be troubled. Then much time passed, but he decided to help with the funding after all. Ujiie-san attended the establishment press conference of the Ghibli Museum with the president of Tokuma and Miya-san said in this way, "This costs 5 billion yen to build. NTV finances 2 billion. I give this money to Ghibli."

The establishment of the museum was decided in this way, but the president of Tokuma died before the opening of the museum. Because Ujiie-san read words of condolence, I visited Ujiie-san later to thank him. He said, "Toku-san* was a great producer. He accomplished much splendid work. Mononoke Hime too. Because I'm a timid person, I cannot spend large sums of money and make a movie in that way." He sighed and continued, "I have done nothing in my life," and I was surprised. Then, "Can you understood the loneliness of the man who have lived more than 70 years and has done nothing? I want to do something before I die" (4:50)

  • Yasuyoshi Tokuma was the president of Tokuma, the Executive Producer of Princess Mononoke, and provided some of the initial funds for the establishment of Ghibli and was a great supporter of Miyazaki and Takahata. In one famous episode when Suzuki informed Tokuma "Mononoke costs 1.5 billion yen", Tokuma replied "use 2 billion".

Ujiie-san was interested in Cuba. When he was a reporter with the Yomiuri newspaper he did a long interview with Castro. In fact, Ujiie-san, I, Takahata-san, Miya-san and a family doctor traveled abroad every summer the last few years. Ujiie-san wanted to visit to Cuba this summer. Ujiie-san planned the trip every year. The reservation of a hotel, the arrangement of an airline ticket, and the meals. He did everything. The first year we visited France. Because NTV supported the Louvre, he was invited by the director of the museum for a private tour. Ujiie-san tempted Takahata-san and Miya-san. His clincher was "you can enjoy the paintings as if you chartered the Louvre." It was a luxurious invitation." (11:10)

The second year was Italy. After visiting the Sistine Chapel we saw Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" at the Uffizi. Ujiie-san heard the explanations of the guide properly. He said, "I do not know a lot about art", but that is a lie. He asked Takahata-san questions many times at artistic places. I and Miya-san smoked as ever in a smoking area." (14:40)

On December 20 of last year, when one-third of the storyboards of Kaguya Hime were completed, he read it. His first impression was "Kaguya-Hime is a selfish girl. I like this girl." Takahata-san was pleased. I wanted to show animated Kaguya-Hime to Ujiie-san.

Studio Ghibli has not put the post of the Chief Production Officer. But when Kaguya-Hime is completed, I want to write on the film "Chief Production Officer is Seiichiro Ujiie". (21:25)

The April 12 production diary shows the entrance of Studio Ghibli with photos of Seiichiro Ujiie and Yasuyoshi Tokuma.

This month issue of Ghibli's free magazine "Neppu" features Ujiie and memorial texts by Miyazaki and Takahata. According to someone who's read the magazine Tahakata also writes about "Kaguya Hime no Monogatari" (Princess Kaguya's Story), a test film being used to try out new animation techniques. With storyboards still in progress the exact release date remains unknown.

"Taketori Monogatari" (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) has two name in Japan. It is generally called "Kaguya Hime" (Princess Kaguya)" because she is the main character.

Thanks to T. Ishikawa for the news.

--LLin 00:33, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Kokuriko-Zaka Kara Voice Cast

The official website now lists the main voice cast:

  • Umi Komatsuzaki: Masami Nagasawa (Ni no Nuni)
  • Syun Kazama: Junichi Okada (Tales from Earthsea)
  • Hana Komatsuzaki (Umi's maternal grandmother: Keiko Takeshita (Arrietty)
  • Hokuto (docter-in-training staying at Kokuriko's apartment): Yuriko Ishida (Princess Mononoke)
  • Sora Komatsuzaki (younger sister: Not Announced
  • Riku Komatsuzaki (younger brother): Not Announced
  • Nijie Komatsuzaki (mother): Not Announced
  • Shimataro Komatsuzaki (maternal grandfather): Not Announced
  • Hokuto: Yuriko Ishida (Princess Mononoke)
  • Ryoko Komatsuzaki (mother): Jyun Fubuki (Tales from Earthsea)
    • In the original manga, Nijie Komatsuzaki is the name of Umi's mother
  • Onodera (old friend of Umi and Syun's parents): Takashi Naito (Spirited Away)
  • Mizunuma (Syun's friend): Syunsuke Kazama
  • Kazama (Syun's father): Nao Omori
  • President Tokumaru : Teruyuki Kagawa (Tales from Earthsea)

A 45 second teaser trailer has been shown in theaters since April 16. The book "Script Kokuriko-zaka Kara" will be released on June 23 while a location guide of Yokohama "Kokuriko-zaka Kara guide book Yokohama Love Story" will see a release on July 13.

The mayor of Yokohama city Fumiko Hayashi held a press conference and announced that Studio Ghibli and Yokohama city are jointly coordinating Kokuriko-zaka promotions. This is first time that Ghibli has joined with a local government. Fumiko Hayashi also reveled that Yokohama city plans tours around the place that became the setting of Kokuriko and invites citizens to the production completion announcement preview and will hold a Aoi Teshima concert.

Thanks to T. Ishikawa for the news.

--LLin 16:32, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Updated: Joe Hisaishi Charity Concerts

Joe Hisaishi's office announced that charity concerts in support of earthquake relief efforts will take place in Tokyo, Osaka, Paris, and Beijing:

  • Tokyo: June 9
  • Osaka: June 18
  • Paris: June 23
  • Beijing: July 9

The concerts feature Hisaishi's work in Hayao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano films. After Hisaishi visited the stricken area at the end of April he decided to hold fundrasing concerts in addition to the already scheduled Poland concert (Hisaishi's message to the Kraków Music Festival.).

All proceeds are earmarked for replacement of children's musical instruments lost during the earthquake.

Thanks to T. Ishikawa for the news.

--LLin 13:42, 13 May 2011 (UTC)