Donors will be rewarded with a thank-you card with Hayao Miyazaki illustration.

The pandemic has had a negative effect on all sorts of businesses, but museums have been hit particularly hard, and Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum is no exception.

The whimsical facility, which houses retrospectives on the anime of director Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli colleagues, plus screens short anime films that can’t be seen anywhere else, ordinarily draws visitors not only from all over Japan but overseas as well. Between official shutdowns during high-infection periods and an overall downturn in domestic tourism and leisure outings over the last two years, though, its visitor numbers have dropped to a fraction of what they used to be, and the timing of the visitor downturn is especially bad. The now 20-year-old building is in need of various repairs and large-scale maintenance projects, and the situation has become bad enough that the museum is asking for donations, saying “Currently, we are operating very much in the red…and if we continue to draw on our financial reserves, we believe the operation of the facility and planned maintenance will be in jeopardy.”

▼ The museum’s Catbus

The donation campaign began in July for in-Japan donors, but this week Studio Ghibli sent out a message through its official account on the LINE messaging/social networking app that it is now accepting donations from fans outside Japan as well.

Donors are asked to contribute an amount equal to 5,000 yen (US$43.50) or more, and as a token of Ghibli’s appreciation will receive a thank-you postcard illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki himself, showing one of the robots from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, a statue of which also stands on the roof of the museum.

▼ Donors in Japan have already begun receiving their thank-you postcards.

The donations are managed under a system that’s called furusato nozei (“hometown tax”), in which funds donated to local businesses can be claimed as tax deductions when filing in Japan. Whether or not the donation will be deductible for overseas fans will depend on their respective nation’s tax authorities, but even if it’s not, the program is an opportunity to directly contribute to Studio Ghibli’s financial stability, and help ensure that the museum is still there to visit when Japan’s borders eventually do reopen to international tourism.

Among English-speaking countries, donations can be accepted from Ghibli supporters in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Singapore. Unfortunately, due to legal complications, donations cannot be made from the U.K., China, EU member states, and a handful of other European nations.

Full details can be found on the campaign website here (continue scrolling down for English explanations). The campaign, which has currently raised approximately 34.6 million yen against an initial target of 10 million, will continue until the end of January.

Source: Studio Ghibli official LINE account, Furusato Choice
Top image: Studio Ghibli
Insert image: Furusato Choice
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!