The President of Studio Ghibli, Hoshino Koji, has announced his retirement, and he will be replaced by Studio Ghibli’s co-founder, Suzuki Toshio.
Hoshino’s resignation comes amidst reports of an executive scandal. The company denies a connection between Hoshino’s resignation and the allegations against Suzuki.
Hoshino’s resignation letter, published on the Studio Ghibli website, does not mention the allegations concerning Suzuki. According to his letter, Hoshino will leave Ghibli after the Annual General Meeting of shareholders in June. Before that, he will step down as Studio Ghibli’s president and chairman at the end of March.
Allegations Against Suzuki Toshio
The retirement of Hoshino Koji comes amid reports of a scandal involving Suzuki Toshio, with which the company has denied any connection. Shukan Josei, a Japanese magazine, revealed allegations that Suzuki had given a large sum of money to a Thai woman in 2013.
The woman subsequently opened a restaurant and spa in Thailand, but both ventures have since been liquidated. In 2018, Suzuki reportedly placed the woman in charge of a Ghibli-backed restaurant in Bangkok and hired her as an official photographer for Studio Ghibli, despite her lack of experience.
The report suggested that employees at Studio Ghibli were unhappy with doing the woman’s work while the company continued to cover her wages and travel expenses. The company is yet to comment on the allegations.
Hoshino’s Resignation Letter and Retirement Plan
Hoshino’s resignation letter was published on the Studio Ghibli website. In the letter, he describes his career and post-retirement plans, but he does not mention the allegations against Suzuki. He writes, “Since taking my current post in February 2008, I have been striving to manage the studio for 15 years.
With the completion of the film “How Do You Live?” This was the best time to leave Ghibli. I will entrust the future management to my successor, hoping he will lead a new Ghibli. On a personal note, I will turn 67 this May. I intend to take on challenges in new fields in the future, using my experience and personal connections.”
Denial of Connection Between Allegations and Hoshino’s Exit
A Studio Ghibli spokesperson has denied a connection between the media allegations and Hoshino’s resignation. “His resignation has nothing to do with the article about Mr. Suzuki to which you have referred,” the spokesman added. When asked last week about the allegations concerning Suzuki, the Studio Ghibli spokesman had no comment.
The controversy surrounding Studio Ghibli’s executive scandal comes at a time when the animation studio is gearing up to release its highly anticipated film, How Do You Live? directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is Miyazaki’s first release in over five years and is expected to be a major box-office success. The studio has assured fans that the Suzuki scandal will not affect the film’s release.
Despite the controversy, Studio Ghibli’s legacy remains untarnished. Studio Ghibli’s animated films are renowned for their stunning visuals, memorable characters, and engaging storytelling. The studio has been instrumental in producing some of Japan’s most iconic animated films, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke, which have captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.
The studio has also actively preserved the environment and promoted social causes. In 2019, Studio Ghibli announced plans to build a theme park in Nagakute, Japan, which is expected to open in 2022. The park will feature attractions based on the studio’s popular films, including a replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house from “My Neighbor Totoro.”