The Japanese animation studio Ghibli, known for its animated blockbuster films as the Academy Award-winning "Spirited Away" and "My neighbor Totoro", has recently been beset by rumors that they will close down for good. When one of Ghibli's two founders, director Hayao Miyazaki in 2013 said that he would retire after completing his film "The Wind Rises", fans all over the world were devastated. And in the recent documentary "The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness", Miyazaki confirms that "The studio will fall apart... It's inevitable."
But the closure plans has never been officially confirmed. The studio is known for being secretive and extremely difficult to get information from. So when I went to Tokyo in November last year to finally get to meet Ghibli´s second founder, the world-renowned animator and director Isao Takahata, and talk about his new movie "The Princess Kaguya", I asked him about the studio's future. Takahata said that he absolutely believes there will be more big projects. And he didn't seem the to take the allegations that Hayao Miyazaki is about to retire seriously:
"I've never heard of film directors that retire. I have always urged him to continue making films. He will in any case make short films", said Takahata,
When it comes to Takahata himself, the 79-year-old director said that he "definitely would like to do more films", adding; "If I have the strength and mental focus."
During my visit at studio Ghibli, a woman named Satoko Takano follows every step I take. She seems to have her hand in everything the studio does. Satoko confirms that the entire production team is on a break at the moment. But that's just normal procedure when they've finished a movie.
So the rumours regarding studio Ghibli aren't true?
"No, we haven't quit yet. Now that we don't have a plan we can say anything about, we are kind of on break, that's all."
For safety's sake she says it again, with a laugh:
"We haven't quit! For sure!"
Jonatan Järbel is a swedish freelance journalist.