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Needless to say, the magical animated works of Studio Ghibli have long enchanted fans around the world. But today, we’d like to introduce to you one very special Ghibli fan in particular.

Meet Kurosuke, who at first glance may not seem like an exceptional Ghibli enthusiast. In fact, we’d say he looks like an average 40-year-old man who happens to work as a production operator. But take one step inside his apartment, and you’ll immediately see that his home and the way he lives is far from ordinary. You see, his entire home is filled with countless Ghibli memorabilia, and what’s more, most of them are rare, not-for-sale items. RocketNews24 visited him for a personal interview, and of course, to see his amazing Ghibli collection!

▼When we arrived, we found that Kurosuke’s Ghibli world starts right from his apartment entrance.

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▼ The hall was decorated like a museum, with beautifully framed Ghibli illustrations hung carefully on the walls.

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▼ We saw hung on the bathroom door a delightful noren cloth sign with the Aburaya Bath House logo from Spirited Away.

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▼ We also saw on display the special collaborative T-shirt that was distributed when John Lasseter visited the Ghibli Museum

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▼ Even the toilet is completely Ghibli-themed!

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▼ A model of Satsuki and Mei’s house from My Neighbor Totoro was displayed in the bathroom.

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▼ And here’s his living room.

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▼ Who hasn’t dreamed of riding the furry Catbus? Or pulling a tissue out of it?

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▼ A wooden Totoro clock — the perfect time-keeping device for a Ghibli fan!

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▼These Muska stickers for labeling garbage cans to separate different types of trash (combustibles, non-combustibles, plastic bottles), were a unique and fun wedding gift from a friend.

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But what is it about Ghibli goods that has so thoroughly fascinated Kurosuke? And how does he actually deal with and enjoy so many Ghibli goods at home? We visited his home for a personal interview to find out. Details of what he told us follow below.

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– When did you start collecting Ghibli goods?

“From around 2003.”

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– What made you first want to start collecting Ghibli paraphernalia?

“I was watching TV one day, and they just happened to be talking about first-edition comics by Osamu Tezuka (the father of modern Japanese manga and sometimes referred to as the ‘god of manga’), and when I learned how valuable they are, it got me thinking about collecting something of value that could be passed on to the next generation as a legacy. I had always loved Ghibli, so the idea of collecting Ghibli goods came to me naturally. But collecting goods that you could buy at any shop didn’t seem interesting enough, so I decided to collect items that weren’t for sale.”

▼ Kurosuke’s Ghibli collection room, where there are many hidden (and not-so-hidden) treasures

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▼  The very first item Kurosuke collected was the movie pamphlet for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

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▼ Ghibli had a tradition of screening their films a second time one year after they were released up until the 1991 film Only Yesterday, so two pamphlets exist for the movies up till then.

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▼ On the left is the pamphlet from Tokuma Shoten bookstore for the first screening, and the pamphlet from Daiei Film Co. Ltd. on the right. We had no idea two pamphlets existed for older Ghibli films!

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– Why do you love Ghibli so much?

“Well, I love that Ghibli films can be enjoyed in different ways by viewers of different ages. Ghibli movies have story lines that are, on the surface, for children, but when you look into the background behind the time period or characters portrayed in the movie, you’ll usually find that there is a deeper plot beneath the surface that adults can also enjoy. It’s interesting that you can have very different impressions of the same movie as a child and later when you see it as an adult. Also, Ghibli pays a great attention to detail, making their artwork a delight to look at.”

▼ Here’s a 360-degree view of  Kurosuke’s Ghibli collection room!

– How much have you spent so far on Ghibli goods?

“I think around three to four million yen (US$25,000 – $33,400) so far.”

– That’s quite a sum of money. Have you ever regretted it and felt that maybe you should have spent it on something else?

“No, I haven’t. I decided I’d go all the way when I started collecting Ghibli items. Before I began my Ghibli collection, I actually used to be an avid gamer, and at one point, when I began playing Virtua Fighter 3, I also decided to devote myself to the game all the way. I would spend two to three hours at the arcade each day and even go on trips t0 participate in Virtua Fighter competitions in places as far away as Hokkaido, so I probably spent about two to three million yen ($16,700 – $25,000) on video games during that time. When I decide to do something, I get completely involved, and I go all the way.”

▼ Some more picture’s of Rokusuke’s impressive Ghibli room:

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– What would you say is your favorite Ghibli item?

“Since Ghibli is, after all, a studio that produces works of animation, I love their illustrations.”

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– How exactly do you obtain all of these Ghibli goods?

“Mostly through online auctions, Yahoo!Auction mainly. I buy items that weren’t sold as regular merchandise with the allowance money my wife grants me each month.”

– Do you ever have a problem with something you really want being very expensive?

“If I find something and it’s a one-of -a-kind item, then I’d probably try to buy it, since you never know when it might be on the market again. I’ve had the experience in the past of not buying something I was interested in and really regretting it, so now, I’d rather regret something I bought instead of something I didn’t (laughs).”

▼ The most expensive item Kurosuke owns is a replica Oscar statue (left) made in commemoration of Spirited Away‘s Oscar win …

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▼ … plus a replica cel illustration from the movie, which cost a whopping 68,000 yen ($570)!

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▼ This Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind video game was purchased at an online auction for 57,000 yen ($477).

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▼ Ghibli has also made commemorative watches for each of their movies from Princess Mononoke onwards, and Kurosuke has been collecting these as well.

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▼ Kurosuke takes care to save his money so that he can buy the Ghibli goods which have now become his passion. Well, that’s not surprising, considering all the goods he’s been acquiring.

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– What are the times you feel particularly happy to be collecting Ghibli items?

“I guess when I meet new friends who are also Ghibli fans.”

–  So it’s not when you’re looking at your collection?

“No, it’s not. The true reward is when you’re able to connect with different people through the process of collecting the goods. That’s the real treasure.”

▼ A signed illustration by Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki — apparently, Suzuki is quite the artist, as you can see from the No Face he drew here.

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▼ Here’s one by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who directed and scripted When Marnie Was There.

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▼ Top left picture: Azumi Inoue (right), who performed the end themes for My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky; Bottom-left picture: Kusuke’s wife (left) and Sumi Shimamoto, voice actress for Nausicaä (center); Top-right picture: Toshio Suzuki (right); Bottom-right picture: Hayao Miyazaki (left)

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– With this much Ghibli paraphernalia, do you think you might ever want to open something like a museum in the future?

“Copyright issues might make that difficult. But if Studio Ghibli decides they want to do something like that, and if I can contribute by lending them the items I own, I would certainly be happy to do so.”

▼ These types of promotional cards used to be posted at Japanese movie theaters in the past.

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▼ The cards are a bit nostalgic for movie fans, as we don’t see them anymore.

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▼ This toy was a prize they gave away in a promotional campaign for the DVD release of Howl’s Moving Castle.

▼ This cardboard poster and accompanying kodama dolls were items that were actually displayed at an electronics store as a promotion for Princess Mononoke.

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▼ Kurosuke also showed us his collection of preview screening invitations and even New Year’s greeting cards sent out by Ghibli. These too were all purchased through online auctions.

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▼These are boxes of Nausicaä chocolates and cookies that were sold back when Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was released in theaters.

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▼And this is the item we were the most impressed with, the Totoro zoetrope.

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▼ It has a strobe light attached to it above, and when you turn it on in the dark …

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▼… this is what you get!

▼ There are so many items in his collection that Kurosuke has a neat book in which he records all his Ghibli goods.

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▼ He currently has about 1,000 Ghibli items.

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– What are your thoughts about Hayao Miyazaki right now?

“He really has done more than enough; I hope he’s able to focus now on what he really wants do. Until now, he’s had to deal with various business pressures, like box office revenue and work deadlines, but now, he can hopefully work without being limited by such concerns. And I think people tend to able to do their best work when they have that kind of freedom. I’d love to see the work Miyazaki produces under those circumstances.”

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– You told us that you have the opportunity to see Hayao Miyazaki every year. What’s your impression of him?  (Miyazaki conducts a grass-cutting event each year in Fuchinomori, an area located at the border of Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture, where he came up with the story for My Neighbor Totoro. Kurosuke participates yearly in this event.)

“He’s a very easygoing guy. He doesn’t put on airs, he jokes around like everyone else and is easy to talk to. But if you get too nervous around him, he might sense it and feel like he should distance himself from you, for your sake.”

– Then maybe kids would have an easier time getting to know him than adults?

“That might be so, since children are supposed to have pure souls, unlike us adults (laughs). In any case, Miyazaki really likes children.”

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– And we’ve now come to our final question. What is your dream for the future?

“It would be to build a house like Satsuki and Mei’s and live there peacefully, collecting Ghibli goods.”

▼ Kurosuke told us his favorite Studio Ghibli film is My Neighbor Totoro. He likes that the story moves at an easy pace and you can watch it feeling quite relaxed.

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▼ Kurosuke’s love of Ghibli is such that he’s actually made a miniature replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house. The model house took two and a half years to complete.

▼ Now, Kurosuke is trying to create a replica of the Ghibli Museum, which will be much bigger than Satsuki and Mei’s house when completed. Our hats are off to Kurosuke for his love and passion for all things Ghibli!

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▼ We still have more photos of his collection to share with you.

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▼ This shelf is filled with Ghibli related books.

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▼ Kurosuke is careful not to squeeze or stack all the memorabilia too close together, as he wants to take good care of each item and enjoy his collection to the fullest.

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▼ This picture board and the life-sized figure of Arrietty was used at a special screening of The Secret World of Arrietty with guest appearances by the staff and voice actors.

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▼Kurosuke told us, “This life-sized Arrietty doll would definitely be a big hit if Ghibli sold them, but they haven’t done so. The reason they haven’t is because a key theme in The Secret World of Arrietty is ‘You can’t be seen by humans,” and if they sold the Arrietty dolls, she would be seen by people everywhere.”

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▼ Speaking with Kurosuke reminded us of how exciting and wonderful it can be to have a driving passion. What’s your passion, and how strong is it?

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So, that brings us to the end of this report. Kurosuke’s love for Studio Ghibli truly is amazing, isn’t it?

What impressed us the most during our interview was how Kurosuke’s eyes sparkled with emotion when he spoke about Ghibli. He appeared giddy like a young child as he told us how wonderful Ghibli is, and his enthusiasm was almost contagious as we found ourselves smiling along with him. When we asked him for a final message to our readers, he kindly obliged us with the following:

▼A special message from Kurosuke

Oh, and Kurosuke said that he would love to have overseas friends who share his love of Ghibli, so if you’re a fan and interested in talking Ghibli with him, maybe you can try becoming a friend of his on Facebook!

Reference: Kurosuke’s Facebook account (Daisuke Kobayasi) and Twitter account (@kurosuke4313)
Photos © RocketNews24