Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Totoro's House" rises from the ashes to become a public park

by Chris MaGee

Back in February we reported on how Japanese authorities were saying that a fire that destroyed a Western-style heritage house in Suginami City, Tokyo known as "Totoro's Home" was most likely arson. Whoever set the blaze put a halt to plans by the municipality of turning it and the land around it into a public park dedicated to the famous character from Hatao Miyazaki's 1988 animated film "My Neighbor Totoro".

That bad news has now been transformed into good news since Mitazaki stepped in and revised his designs for the park to include what remains of the house, basically its red roof and foundations. This rebirth of the space comes as a great joy to Kondō-san, the 85-year-old woman whose family called "Totoro's House" home since it was built in 1929. She learned of Miyazaki's revisions to the park after she was released from the hospital for heart surgery and stated that "It's like a miracle. I want this to become a park that many will treasure."

Miyasaki stated in his book "Totoro no Sumu Ie (The Homes that Totoro Lives in)" that "Totoro would have enjoyed living in [this house] dearly." Now the people in Suginami City will enjoy what remains of it. So there, Arsonists!

Thanks to Anime News Network for this piece of good news, and to Yomiuri Online for the above pic of Kondō-san in front of her old home.

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