Could this be the end of Ghibli as we know it?

Since Studio Ghibli joined Twitter in December 2020, with its first tweet being a New Year’s greeting on 1 January 2021, the acclaimed animation studio has amassed over 1.8 million followers, who’ve loved seeing behind-the-scenes moments shared by staff.

However, those 1.8 million followers were taken by surprise this evening, when the studio announced it would be closing its Twitter account at midnight on 3 November.

With the tweet appearing at 6:00 p.m. on 2 November, this gave fans a mere six hours’ notice of the sudden closure.

▼ This tweet will self-destruct, along with the studio’s entire account, within hours of this writing.

The message shared with the tweet above reads:

“Studio Ghibli’s official Twitter account will be terminated as of 12:00 a.m. on 3 November. We would like to thank all the many people who supported this account, which started three years ago in preparation for the release of Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’. We sincerely thank you. The movie will continue to be shown through the year-end and New Year holidays. Kahe.”

The word “kahe” — consisting of the katakana characters “カ” (“ka”), “ヘ”, (“he”) and a silent, small-case ッ (“tsu”) — is a bit of secret code that fans deciphered back in July, when both Studio Ghibli and singer Kenshi Yonezu’s official staff account shared tweets containing a string of these characters that initially seemed ineligible.

▼ The tweet from Yonezu’s official staff account.

However, fans soon found that when the string of characters was applied to Morse code, the message can be deciphered as “Chikiyuugi kiite ne” (“Listen to Chikiyuugi“). “Chikiyuugi” in this case refers to “Chikyugi” (“Globe“), the Japanese name of the title song for The Boy and the Heron, performed by Yonezu and known as “Spinning Globe” in English.

So Ghibli’s sign-off on Twitter is not only a reminder of director Hayao Miyazaki’s long-awaited movie, which he came out of retirement for to leave a legacy for his grandson, but a reminder of its central message to keep going, in spite of turmoil and change.

▼ Us, looking at a bleak future without Twitter updates from Studio Ghibli.

It’s a message fans will now need to take to heart as the studio closes its account, cutting off our access to tidbits of information from the studio in Tokyo’s Higashi Koganei, where we previously learned about their relationship with Pixar and bore witness to the heartwarming story of Miyazaki’s broken electric eraser.

While the reason for the closure of Ghibli’s official Twitter account hasn’t been formally announced, with the studio recently being acquired by Nippon TV, this could be the start of some new changes related to the acquisition.

The good news is, the studio’s North American account is still up and running, as is the one belonging to Ghibli Park. However, if you’d like to keep some of the behind-the-scenes photos and stories from the studio’s official Japanese account, now’s the time to screenshot those moments, before those cherished memories disappear forever. 

Source: Twitter/@JP_GHIBLI
Featured image: Twitter/@JP_GHIBLI
Insert image: Studio Ghibli

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