My Neighbor Totoro is one of the most beloved of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's films and now, producer Toshio Suzuki recounts how Totoro was born.
The city of Tokorozawa is the subject of a new picture book and on the website for the book, Suzuki tells the story of how Miyazaki showed him where he got the idea for the beloved character. The book reveals that the idea came on a rainy day with Miyazaki telling Suzuki "I would like to show you where Totoro was born." The story itself is incredibly charming.
"Miya-san was out picking up garbage at the edge of Fuchi no Mori, as he did every Sunday, when he noticed the splendor of Kami no Yama," Suzuki writes.
The story goes on to explain how Miyazaki didn't move away from Tokyo until his marriage in 1965 and, while exploring his new residence in Tokorozawa, he would take walks that ultimately inspired his work. Suzuki said that on a walk with Miyazaki, they ended up at the end of a road and at Fuchi no Mori before approaching Hachikokuyama park -- introduced in My Neighbor Totoro as "Nanakuniyama".
Suzuki writes in the book that Miyazaki told him as they walked through the area that if it weren't for living in the area, there wouldn't be a Totoro.
"If I didn't live in Tokorozawa, Totoro would never have been born," Suzuki recounts Miyazaki saying.
The whole story, and that of Miyazaki's deep connection with Tokorozawa is further expressed in the book Totoro no Umareta Tokoro (Where Totoro Was Born). In addition to the story, the book features illustrations from both Miyazaki and his wife Akemi and discusses the area through the seasons of the year. The book specifically features sketches of spirit animals from Miyazaki while Akemi's illustrations feature the plants and flowers of the area.
The book, which also features drawings from My Neighbor Totoro, is available now in Japan.