Message to Studio Ghibli

Message to Studio Ghibli

(English Subtitles available …) This is woodblock printmaker David Bull – living in Japan for 30 years, making a living making woodblock prints. There are many videos on my YouTube channel … … mostly showing how myself and my staff members create our beautiful traditional Japanese prints. This video is different. This video is an ‘appeal’. Myself and my staff have a wonderful project that we want to start … … but we have been unable to find a way to get permission to do it. It is to send a message to a ‘certain organisation’ that we are making this video. Which organization? Studio Ghibli We have tried a number of times to contact them to make our request, but have been unable to get through. Might the proposal in this video get through to them? I have no idea, but let’s try! Please have a look at this beautiful little woodblock print. I am sure you all recognise the characters, from one of the most popular of all Studio Ghibli creations. I of course have no permission from the Studio to make this sample print. And we can’t sell it, so please don’t ask! I did so because it seemed to me the only way to clearly show them what I want to do. I would like to reproduce scenes from Ghibli creations in the form of a set of traditional woodblock prints. Not in a parody form; not distorted in any way … I simply want to create objects in which the warmth and human touch of the Ghibli characters can be seen in this beautiful way. This print is made with exactly the same traditional techniques as the old ukiyo-e prints from the Edo era Back in those days, one of the main purposes of printmaking was to allow the people to bring their Kabuki ‘heroes’ into their daily life The skills of the printmaking craftsmen brought those actors to life in a very vivid way. We want to do the same thing with the Ghibli characters Look closely at this print! Look at the way that the sharply carved lines are pressed into the paper Look how the pigments blend in the beautiful washi … Seen under the proper light, a print like this is far more than just a simple ‘picture’ The characters come to life in front of our eyes … This is the unknown secret of Japanese prints! Now that’s part of the story – bringing the Ghibli characters to life in a new way … but there is another side to my request. Over the past few years, I have nurtured a team of young craftsmen and women here at Mokuhankan These young people love woodblock prints in the same way that I do … and they are working hard to develop their skills. But it takes years to get good enough to make a living in this craft, and it is very difficult for Mokuhankan to support them during the time that they are developing. We are surviving; we are getting by; but only just. If we can get permission from Studio Ghibli to create a set of prints like this it would greatly help our work. We are thinking of a set of 12, to be issued to collectors at a pace of one per month for a year. We know such a series would be very popular … … and this would provide us with a steady revenue to keep our workers employed for a longer period. To speak of selling these prints means to speak of getting a license. Perhaps this would be under a typical licence contract, or perhaps we could arrange something more creative. For example, we understand that Miyazaki-sensei is currently developing a project in Okinawa, a children’s ‘Nature Retreat’. It would be an interesting idea if we donated a percentage of revenue from our prints to that project. We are open to any suggestions from the Studio … But the first step must be to speak directly with Studio Ghibli about this. If any of you who have watched this video know some-body who knows somebody who knows somebody … who might help us establish communication with the Ghibli licensing people … I hope you will get in touch with me. My contact information is on the YouTube page, and I will give it again at the end of this video. One final thing before I close. We have established a website where we explain our request. On that site there is also a form where you can give your own input on this project. The website address is easy to remember: We really really want to bring this beautiful set of prints to life. I very much hope you can help us. Thank you very much for listening to my presentation.

100 thoughts on “Message to Studio Ghibli”

  1. I really feel like miyuzaki himself would be excited to have a project like this brought to life, please let us know if you receive any word from the studio

  2. How you find the time I do not know. Your passion for this art form, your lively hood and the concern for the future of the craft and your young workers is wonderful. Great Luck in the venture.

  3. 工房の経営が苦しく


  4. This is wonderful! Ghibli say yes please! David do you know I would support your studio and your great projects there monthly, if you create an account! Good luck with this!

  5. I hope they get back to you. I would love a Tottoro print. I grew up watching it all the time and have fond memories of it.

  6. Can someone please tell me what this print is from? Thank you.

    Edit: This comes from "MY NEIGHBOR TORTORO"
    "Everybody, try laughing. Then whatever scares you will go away!"

  7. Can someone please tell me what the writing on the top and bottom left say? Thank you. EDIT: Oh the power of the internet and google translate, I had no idea what I was writing, but I got this! The pink banner reads "My Neighbor Totoro. Ghibli print album." I also got "Ghibli Print Engraving Album" when I separated the first three characters from the other six. Can someone please verify? Again, I have never studied Japanese writing, or the language for that matter, having only used Google Translate to get this.

  8. this might be a weird question to answer yourself, but how is your Japanese? do you have a clear American accent?


  10. I dont know ONE fucking thing about any of this HOWEVER I watched the whole thing and was completely engaged!

  11. wow i need these prints .
    hope you dont give up on this project keep fighting just like you did when the master carvers refuse to learn you there secrets .
    there must be a way to contact them i know sunarrow makes some licenced merch for the studio you could ask for advice on how to get in contact .
    you can also try it by standing at there door step with your prints and woodblock .
    one thing i know for sure you have the voice thats perfect of convincing people a true story teller 🙂

  12. Have you ever thought of making traditional style prints of other iconic anime or tv show characters? I'm sure many people would buy prints for Ghost in the Shell or Neon Genesis: Evangelion.

  13. Perhaps it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. I bet if you started selling the prints you could very quickly find the right person to talk to!

  14. This kind of decision would probably have to be made by Toshio Suzuki-san personally, but contacting him directly might be considered a bit rude (there should be someone else responsible for Ghibli merchandise, but that's a hired manager with limited authority) – I'm not too well informed on the Japanese business customs. You most likely already attempted this, but contacting the Ghibli Museum is probably your best shot at this project – it's also a place where distribution could be organized. And it's an active physical place with people working there. Your beautiful prints would fit in that kind of environment. I think. Unless they have already commited to someone else, or it was decided not to go with it at all, for one reason or another.

    Anyways, I think there is a decent chance of this working out. Good luck and best of wishes to you, sir.

  15. David BullI reccomend searching "deviant art" to find quality artworks and artists directly, there are millions of talented people that i'm sure would queue up to be able to do a collaboration with your expertise, and I am sure they have fans that would be happy to pay for the quality product.

  16. Alright, so I mean clearly you've got a functional understanding of Japanese culture and there is obviously no language barrier for you, but let me enlighten you as to why nobody's gotten into contact with you.

    You're white.

    Ghibli doesn't want some foreigner stepping up and getting a piece of the pie and if you understand as much as you appear to, you would know that. Ghibli is a studio notorious for handling everything with a silken glove and you have a better chance of getting hit by a bus than you even getting to the point where you can sit down with a marketing director or whathaveyou at their head office.

  17. David, have you considered other studios like Madhouse? I love Summer Wars. It's one of the greatest movies of all time and rich with characters and imagery that could be used.

  18. Have you tried setting up a Patreon account? I am sure there are many people, myself included, who would be happy to contribute in order to keep this art alive

  19. What could possibly be a reason for Studio Ghibli to refuse this heartfelt connection? Why haven't they even responded? Seems impolite and not very professional to ignore fellow members of the guild, no?

  20. Konbanwa, David! First, I must say I am quite saddened Studio Ghibli has yet to give you any response, I just can't see any reason to. It would be a most fantastic project indeed. I wish however to make a request as well. I am brazilian and a student of the japanese language. I have known your videos for a couple of years or so but only very recentlt have become a fan. Your videos are just the thing for me because it helps me learn about traditional japanese culture and really helps me relax, due to your smooth voice and eloquent and calm way of talking. This video in particular made me really made me happy, almost making me get emotional, for it was the first time I understood so much of someone speaking japanese (i hid the subtitles). I would ask you, if possible, to put out more videos in which you speak japanese. Your clear and eloquent way of talking, besides it being a subject I'm interested in, would make it the best way of practicing japanese listening I could think of. Wishing you the best and thank you for reading this

  21. Real shame that this project never got to see the light of day, the print you produced was imaculate, I would have loved to see a series of prints based on popular Ghibli film, real shame. Would have loved to have a Princess Mononoke print.

    David what is your favourite Ghibli film for some reason I am picturing Porco Rosso.

  22. If Ghibli doesn't answer try with net Studio Ponoc, I heard they are a trend in japan because the new movie. Ghibli is in a hiatus status for now, but the new blood in Studio Ponoc could be more open to a collaboration.

  23. I don't know whether to pat myself on the back for not needing the subtitles or punch myself for being too stupid to know how to turn them on….

    Either way, let's see some Ghibli ukio-e!

  24. Wow… During the second world war, my grandfather learned to speak, read and write in Japaneses. He sought to understand appreciate the culture in a time when my nation was at war with them. I can now understand a part of the reason. On top of being a top notch story teller, you do it just as well in Japanese. I do hope that this video reached that studio and that they got in contact with you.

  25. I appreciate how you present and unfold your vision here on YouTube; I hope you get a yes from Ghibli Studios!

    I added my support by posting on your website:

  26. Hi David have you thought about doing JR TOLKIEN prints.The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings highly protected brand and expensive to get into but you never know they may see the good in a partnership.

  27. Personally, I think you should go to Japan and talk to Ghibli members directly. But again, the Studio is pretty dead at this point (well…they are actually making another movie so there are probably people inside Studio), so I’m not even sure if they received the letter or an e-mail about it.

    You do know that there are other people responsible for Ghibli right? People think it’s Miyazaki but he is only a Director. You should contact Toshio Suzuki or other members that are responsible for Ghibli.

    I think the best way is to go to Japan and meet with Ghibli supervisors in the Studio or Museum, or ask other people outside of Japan that are in touch with Ghibli. Miyazaki definitely isn’t the kind of guy who will read e-mails, while the Studio itself has been dead since The Wind Rises. It just re-opened again, because he is making a new movie called “How Will You Live?”.

  28. Anyone know where I can find his video that includes that box in the background? I remember I liked the print in question that was shown. I can't remember the print or title though.

  29. ジブリの関係者ではありませんが

  30. Ghibli won't respond. They're too high and mighty. The sad thing is you could make these all day if you were in China.


    I would buy any prints you made of this!!

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