The sold-out collection every Ghibli fan wants to get their hands on.

With New Year fast approaching, people in Japan are preparing to decorate their homes with auspicious items, as is the custom at this time of year. For Ghibli fans, decorating for the holiday just became even more exciting, with the release of three special products from the Ghibli Museum, featuring Totoro and the Catbus from the 1988 anime movie My Neighbour Totoro. 

The first item in the new “Tonari no Totoro Medetai Okazari” (“My Neighbour Totoro Auspicious Decorations“) range is the Daruma Totoro.

This adorable figurine shows Totoro with one hand on a daruma, a traditional doll that depicts Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. Daruma are commonly sold at temples in Japan at New Year, and they always come with only one eye, as it’s tradition for the owner to make a wish and paint the other eye on the doll once that wish is fulfilled.

▼ That’s why Totoro is shown with a brush in the other hand, ready to paint in the other eye.

With this special decoration, you get two darumas for the price of one, because not only is the one-eyed face seen on the daruma, it’s also pictured on Totoro’s belly, along with “福”, the kanji for “luck”, which is often included beneath the face of darumas as well.

▼ So you could make two separate wishes here, as long as you can bear to paint on Totoro’s belly once your wishes come true!

The next item in the collection also features Totoro, only this time the character is designed to look like Ebisu, one of the Seven Lucky Gods. 

The Seven Lucky Gods are associated with luck and prosperity in Japan, especially around New Year’s, when people can take part in a Shichifukujin-Meguri (Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage). This pilgrimage involves visiting temples or shrines dedicated to each of the seven gods within a local area and collecting stamps at each stop as a wish for a happy and prosperous year.

Ebisu is the god of fishing, and is commonly depicted with a fishing rod and a red sea bream (“tai” in Japanese, which sounds like “medetai”, giving it its auspicious connotation). This image of the god catching a big fish is said to be symbolic of bringing in wealth or prosperity, especially in the business world, and if you look closely at this special Totoro, you can see the nods to Ebisu in its clever design.

Not only is Totoro pictured with a rod, but the character appears to have caught two things that are both red in colour, which is a lucky hue in Japan.

▼ On the back are leaves cleverly positioned to look like a crayfish…

▼ …and on the front is a larger leaf, styled to look like a sea bream, complete with a black eye.

The final item in the range features the Catbus, or “Neko Basu” as the character is known in Japan. For this special outing, the Catbus is designed to look like a “maneki neko” (“beckoning cat“), and has therefore been named the “Maneki Neko Basu“.

In Japan, maneki neko are auspicious decorations to have at home or in a business setting, as the raised paw is said to beckon fortune. If the right paw is raised, it’s believed to attract money, while a raised left paw is said to beckon customers or people.

The Maneki Neko Basu has its left paw raised, to attract people and good relationships, and it also has a couple of other cute details — a gold leaf, with gold being another auspicious colour, and a destination sign above its head that reads “福” (“fuku”), the kanji for good luck.

All three items are priced at 5,280 yen (US$40.05) each, however, the sad news is the entire collection sold out as soon as it went on sale at the Ghibli Museum shop and online on 17 December. The online store currently offers the option for interested customers to enter their email address to be notified of a restock, though, so fingers crossed more will be made available soon.

Until then, we’ll be decorating our home with these Ghibli mamezara New Year’s dishes, which are thankfully still available.

Source: Ghibli Museum
Top image: Ghibli Museum
Insert images: Ghibli Museum (1, 2, 3)
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