Ghibli Studios: History & Production

Ghibli started out in 1985 by Tokuma Shoten, a publishing company in Tokyo, and Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki (Lawson). Since then, they have made many movies and short films that are both popular in Japan and the United States. You’ve probably heard of some: Ponyo, Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and many more.


You might be wondering why the name Ghibli. It’s not the name of any of the creators or the publishing company, so why did they choose that. Turns out Ghibli is the Arabic name for “Mediterranean Wind, or Hot Sahara Wind” (Lawson). The idea was to “blow new wind through the same industry” (Lawson) and they did that by becoming one of the first studio’s to make movies from characters that were not based on already existing TV shows. Before, it was very rare for anime movies to not be based on anime TV series. Ghibli Studios wanted to steer away from television programs because of all the restrictions and financial problems that would hinder what they were trying to make (スタジオジブリ).


Being the producer, Toshio Suzuki makes sure everything is moving along and also comes together in the end. He secures funding, makes sure everyone is doing their job at a timely manner and maintains motivation in everyone working on the project. Suzuki even describes the job as a matsuri, meaning every day should be fun. From watching the video, it is easy to see that he is very good at his job. He has a way about talking to people and getting them to do what he wants. For example, when he meets with investors, he makes sure to ask them about their personal lives, rather than solely business. He even lets them in on the movie making process to show them that he trusts them, and they can trust him too. Miyazaki, the director, even tells the camera, “somehow, Suzuki gets me to want to do my job without telling me to actually do it” (プロフェッショナル 仕事の流儀).

Suzuki later goes to explain why their movies are so successful. He does not attribute it to luck, but rather careful planning, listening to other, and current events. If you have seen the Ghibli movies, you know that all of the movies have a meaning or message. Suzuki likes to pair these with the current events that are going on in Japan. For example, when the earthquake hit Japan in 2011, and everyone was scared for the safety of where they lived, Suzuki would have made a movie about perseverance and living on. By focusing on topics that affect everyone, no matter the age, he is able to reach a bigger audience.


Distributed-Leeshie. Studio Ghibli Collage Coloured. 5 March 2017.

Lawson, Kat. “A Brief History of Studio Ghibli.” The Film Magazine. 5 March 2017.

“スタジオジブリの歴史:ジブリのスタート.” Ghibli, Studio Ghibli. 5 March 2017.

“プロフェッショナル 仕事の流儀.” Youtube, uploaded by Lola Sparks, 5 March 2017,

Suzuki, Toshio. 5 March 2017.

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