This week, Studio Ghibli announced the details for their upcoming Farewell Ceremony for founding director Isao Takahata, who passed away on April 5 after a battle with lung cancer. The event will be open to the public and will take place on May 15 at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. The event will run from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and celebrate the amazing life and career of the animation legend, from his starting days at Toei Doga to his acclaimed masterpieces at Studio Ghibli.
Hayao Miyazaki will attend the event and issue a public tribute to his lifelong friend and brother. This will be the first public statement made by Miyazaki since Takahata’s death. News outlets have reported that the Ghibli co-founder is shattered by the loss. The two began their careers together over 50 years ago, and as partners created many classic films and television series, including Horus, Prince of the Sun, Lupin the 3rd, Heidi, Girl of the Alps, 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, Anne of Green Gables, Future Boy Conan and Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. The commercial and critical success of Nausicaa in 1984 directly led to the founding of Studio Ghbli one year later, where the two directors would create such classics as My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Spirited Away, Ponyo, My Neighbors the Yamadas and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
Studio Ghibli’s official statement on May 1 did not specify whether television cameras would be present, or if the ceremony would be broadcast by television network NHK, which has had a long relationship with Miyazaki and Takahata going back 40 years. Personally, I would hope that the event would be broadcast, just so the rest of the world could watch in a global simulcast. Hopefully, we will have an opportunity to join along on May 15 or at a future date.
Thanks to Generacion Ghibli for sharing the news on their Twitter page and translating the text into Espanol, which helped tremendously. Be sure to bookmark that site and Twitter page if you haven’t yet done so.
Your local Ghibli fan club should also schedule a memorial event for Paku-san on May 15. Make it a movie marathon. If it were up to me, I would rent out a theater and show an earlier feature film like Gauche the Cellist, maybe show the first episode of Heidi, Marco and Anne, and then close out with one of Takahata’s Ghibli features like Princess Kaguya, which would be perfectly fitting. And, no, I still do not have the stomach to sit through Grave of the Fireflies.