Finding the Whole in the Parts
Studio Ghibli: Architecture in Animation

 Exhibition Information

Term :
October 8th 2016 (Sat) - January 9th 2017 (Mon)
Museum hours :
10:00 - 20:00 (No admission after 19:30)
Closed :
Tuesdays, December 31st and January 1st (*Open on Jan 3rd)

Venue :
Contemporary Art Museum,Kumamoto
Exhibition Admission :

Door ticket

Adults : 1,300yen
People over 65 years : 1,000yen
University / High School Students : 800yen
Junior High School Students or younger : Free

Advance ticket

Adults : 1,100yen
People over 65 years : 800yen
University / High School Students : 600yen
Junior High School Students or younger : Free

Reduced price for groups which in more than 20 people*

Adults : 1,000yen
People over 65 years : 700yen
University / High School Students : 500yen
Junior High School Students or younger : Free
*The reduced price is also available for those who are physically or mentally handicapped.
Organized by :
Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto [Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Art and Cultural Promotion Foundation], KKT (Kumamoto Kenmin TV), Kumamoto Nichinichi Press
Planning and Production Supported by:
STUDIO GHIBLI INC., Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
Supported by:
Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum
Special Sponsored by:
Mitsui Home Co., Ltd.
Sponsored by:
The Kumamoto Bank, Ltd., K word Kyusyu, Ltd., Tokyo Electron Kyushu Limited, HARADA Logitex Co., Ltd.
Display Sponsored by:
Light and Licht Ltd., A Factory Inc.
Cooperated by:
Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefectural Board of Education, Kumamoto City Board of Education, Liaison Council of Kumamoto Prefecture municipalities Board of Education, Kumamoto Prefecture Private Kindergarten Association, Kumamoto Prefecture Council of Childcare, Kumamoto Ken Hoiku Kyokai (Kumamoto Prefectural Childcare Association), City Kumamoto Nursery School Federation, Kumamoto Ken Bunka Kyokai (Cultural Association of Kumamoto), Kumamoto Ken Bijutsuka Renmei (Artists’Union of Kumamoto), Kumamoto Prefecture Tourist Federation, Kumamoto International Convention and Tourism Bureau, Kyushu Railway Company, NHK Kumamoto, FBS, NIB, KYT, J:COM Kumamoto, FM-Kumamoto, FM791
Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto
2-3, Kamitori-cho, Chuou-ku, Kumamoto city
860-0845 Japan
FAX. +81-96-359-7892
Studio Ghibli has released many works of animation since its founding in 1985, and numerous “buildings” appear in its movies as the stage for the drama taking place. In this exhibition we present background art, concept art, background art settings and other production material for the buildings that populate Studio Ghibli films, from its starting point with “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika)” to “When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie)”. We have recreated Ghibli’s most representative architecture in 3D models as we explore the wellspring of their design.

What is architecture’s allure? It lies at the intersection between human beings and their buildings. The buildings we live in are an indispensable part of our lives. But much of what is being built today strays far from the original appeal of architecture and leaves us feeling a gulf widening between our buildings and ourselves. It is one of the things closest to us all, yet often overlooked. Even when noticed, it is too quickly forgotten.

In contrast, consider the many buildings in the virtual worlds of Ghibli animation. From the towering Aburaya bathhouse in “Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)” to the Latin Quarter clubhouse in “From Up on Poppy Hill (Kokurikozaka kara)”, Howl’s moving castle, Manpuku-ji temple in “Pom Poko (Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko)”, the Guchokipan bakery in “Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyubin)”, the Kusakabe family home in “My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)”, the flying castle of “Castle in the Sky (Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta)” and many more, Ghibli has designed unique buildings that add character to all of its films. Their allure transcends the confines of animation. They project such a sense of reality that it seems they must truly exist somewhere, somehow.

Movies—in particular animated movies—must create the entire world projected on the screen. Yet, shifting perspective, it can be said that movies are also an apparatus for projecting ideals. All these remarkable buildings are envisioned within that process. They are not simply “fantasies”. They are designed objects, created by carefully and intensely observing the real world and, based on that observation, envisioning and verifying, time and again, the lives, eras and every other aspect of the movie’s characters. For above all, it is their relationship with the characters that heightens these structures’ appeal as architecture.

This is no less true in the real world in which we live. All of us live our lives within buildings shaped by our varied cultures and environments.

We hope that the works in this exhibition will be your doorway to discovering the allure of architecture, and its close and indivisible relationship with humankind.


“Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)”
© 2001 Studio Ghibli - NDDTM

The Towering Aburaya Bathhouse model,
“Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)”

The Kusakabe Family Home
“My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)”
© 1988 Studio Ghibli

The Kusakabe Family Home model
“My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)”

“Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Gake no Ue no Ponyo)”
© 2008 Studio Ghibli - NDHDMT

The Sosuke’s House model
“Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Gake no Ue no Ponyo)”