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Aichi Pref. plans to bring Miyazaki films to life at 'Ghibli Park'

In this July 15, 2006 file photo, a recreation of the home of Satsuki and Mei, the main characters of Studio Ghibli's "My Neighbor Totoro," is seen at Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture. (Mainichi)

NAGOYA -- The Aichi Prefectural Government announced plans on June 1 to conjure the imaginary creations of legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki into reality in the form of a theme park dedicated to the films of Studio Ghibli Inc.

    The prefecture is aiming to open "Ghibli Park" in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture's Expo Memorial Park in the 2020s. Studio Ghibli is the Koganei, Tokyo-based animation company behind Miyazaki films including "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away."

    According to the prefecture, Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura and Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki have agreed on the broad strokes of the plan for the park, which is projected to be about 200 hectares and include a reproduction of the world of "Totoro." However, the plan does not foresee significant alterations to the current site, such as cutting down many of the trees in the wooded parkland. The prefecture plans to call for planning proposals from a wide variety of sources, including private firms.

    Expo Memorial Park is already host to a popular recreation of the mid-Showa era home of the two sisters who appear in "Totoro," Satsuki and Mei. The park was opened by Aichi Prefecture in July 2006 on the site of Expo 2005, after the property was transferred to the prefecture free of charge following the event's end.

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