Japanese animation classic hits Chinese screens 30 years late

BEIJING, The Japanese animation classic MyNeighbor Totoro, which has enchanted generations of children, finally hit Chinese cinemas Friday 30 years after its original release.

The Studio Ghibli film has never been screened in China despite its global

popularity.

The movie follows two sisters who move with their father to the countryside

where they come across Totoro and other forest creatures.

With its whimsical pastels and postwar Japanese countryside setting, the

movie made its debut in 1988 and became an instant classic.

The film's characters have become cultural icons with the eponymous wood

spirit Totoro serving as the mascot for Studio Ghibli.

It is unclear why the movie has never been released in China, though the

Communist government has quotas for the number of foreign films allowed to

screen every year and censors what it deems sensitive content.

China and Japan have been traditional rivals for centuries. Although

relations have improved somewhat in recent years, they remain touchy due to

issues such as Japan's bloody occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and

40s.

Despite the lack of public screenings, the rotund titular character has

shown up everywhere in China, from mobile phone cases to birthday cakes,

while copies of the movie are readily available in Chinese shops and e

commerce platforms.

Studio Ghibli chairman Koji Hoshino on Monday told a news conference in

Shanghai that the movie promotes nature in Japan and warm relations

between families, Japanese media reported.

In order to get rid of bogus copies (of the movie), I thought we should

show a Ghibli movie in the Chinese market, Hoshino said.

Studio Ghibli is Japan's premier animation studio, renowned internationally

for works including Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, and cofounder

Hayao Miyazaki is among the world's most acclaimed animators.

Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animated feature in 2003 the

first Japanese film to do so among other major gongs.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)