Wooden sign magnets are the newest addition to the “Tiny Ghibli Museum” collection. 

Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum is more than just a building dedicated to exhibits and films from Studio Ghibli — the atmosphere inside helps to bring the magic of the studio’s worldview to life, with rustic, hand-drawn elements waiting to surprise you in every corner.

One of the surprises you’ll come across is a series of hand-painted signs, filled with character flourishes and washed-out hues that look like they’ve jumped straight out of an anime and into real life. Up until now, these signs have only been seen by visitors to the museum — photography is prohibited inside the building — but thanks to this latest release, they’re ready to leave the building and take up residence in your home, in the form of wooden magnets.

There are four to collect in the Wooden Sign Magnet series, with the first magnet being a miniature replica of the 準備室 (“junbishitsu” or “preparation room”) sign.

This sign, featuring Totoro and a Soot Sprite from the studio’s 1988 anime film, My Neighbour Totoro, is tucked away in a corner of the permanent exhibition room on the ground floor of the museum. The permanent exhibit here is titled “Where a Film is Born“, and it takes you through the behind-the scenes process of art creation that goes into making a Ghibli movie.

So it’s apt that beneath the word “junbishitsu” on the sign, is the message, “Eiga no hajimaru tokoro” (“The place where movies begin“), which acts as a perfect reminder of how Ghibli movies are born — with planning, preparation, and rough sketches on paper.

▼ The sign is perfectly at home in this environment, surrounded by preliminary sketches and drafts pinned to the walls, in what’s designed to resemble an art studio.

▼ The next sign reads, “Sakugashitsu” (“Drawing Room“)

“Drawing” here refers to picture creation, and the image that accompanies it is a Soot Sprite with a pencil in one hand, to help convey the drawing-in-progress concept. This sign is also located in the museum’s ground-floor permanent exhibition room.

▼ The magnet (above) replicates the original sign (below) down to the very last detail, complete with painted-on peeled-off paint.

▼ The next magnet sign reads, “Piccolo S.P.A.

This magnet is a perfect replica of the sign at the entrance of the permanent exhibition room, which pays tribute to Piccolo S.P.A., the sea plane repair shop in the 1992 Ghibli film, Porco Rosso. A cute pig pays homage to the main character in the movie, a pig called Porco, while a propellor recalls the iconic sea plane.

▼ The final magnet sign reads, “トーキー” (“talkie”)

Unlike the other signs, which can all be found in the permanent exhibition room on the ground floor of the museum, this little sign appears on the floor beneath, in the B1F permanent exhibition room, which houses an exhibit called “The Beginning of Movement“.

One of the displays is a gramophone that plays sound to accompany a moving image, introducing visitors to the concept of “talkies”, which were the first “talking” movies, marking the shift from silent movies to movies with sound.

▼ On this gramophone you’ll find the “Talkie” sign.

While the magnets are a new addition the Ghibli Museum shop, they’ve been slotted into a shop category called “Chiisana Ghibli Bijutsukan” (“Tiny Ghibli Museum”) with a number of other existing items, all of which miniaturise museum features into palm-sized products.

A couple of other notable “Tiny Ghibli Museum” products include the Jiburiburi Keychain (748 yen [US$4.99]), which features “Jiburiburi“, a character that combines the word “Ghibli” (pronounced “Jiburi” in Japanese”) with “buriburi”, a word that means “angrily” or “in a huff”.

Jiburiburi is said to lurk in the shadows of the studio, having been born from the suffering felt by Director Hayao Miyazaki when drawing difficult storyboards.

Another neat item is the Crest Necklace (6,050 yen), which perfectly replicates Laputa’s crest from Ghibli’s 1986 movie, Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

▼ The crest in the background can be found on the grounds of the museum.

The miniature range is an adorable way to own a tiny piece of the museum, and it’s priced to suit a range of budgets. Thankfully, the wooden sign magnets are well within our budget, at 990 yen each, so we’ll be able to collect all four of them without breaking the bank, leaving us with more money to splurge on other items, like this Totoro wind chime with a century of craftsmanship behind it.

Source: Ghibli Museum online shop
Top image: Ghibli Museum online shop
Insert images: Ghibli Museum online shop (1, 2, 3, 4)
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