This highly entertaining business memoir describes what it was like to work for Japan's premiere animation studio, Studio Ghibli, and its reigning genius Hayao Miyazaki. Steve Alpert, a Japanese-speaking American, was the "resident foreigner" in the offices of Ghibli and its parent Tokuma Shoten and played a central role when Miyazaki's films were starting to take off in international markets. Alpert describes hauling heavy film canisters of Princess Mononoke to Russia and California, experiencing a screaming Harvey Weinstein, dealing with Disney marketers, and then triumphantly attending glittering galas celebrating the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.
His one-of-a-kind portraits of Miyazaki and long-time producer Toshio Suzuki, and of sly, gruff, and brilliant businessman Yasuyoshi Tokuma, capture the hard work and artistry that have made Ghibli films synonymous with cinematic excellence. And as the lone gaijin in a demanding company run by some of the most famous and influential people in modern Japan, Steve Alpert tackles his own challenges of language and culture. No one else could have written this book.
"It's a fabulous book. Informative and illuminating." --Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Sandman, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane "... an utterly priceless insider account, loaded with shouting matches, dastardly deals, moments of searing creative wisdom and fist-gnawing awkwardness. Ghibli, and anime, will never look the same again." --Jonathan Clements, author of Anime: A History "I've been waiting a long time for Steve Alpert's book. With humor and insight he describes his years working at Japan's premiere animation company--Studio Ghibli--where I always marveled at his ability to survive. Fans of Ghibli and its films, and its best-known founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki, will be delighted. And so, too, will anyone interested in Japanese society and business, the animation industry, and problems of intercultural communication." --Frederik L. Schodt, translator, with Beth Cary, of Hayao Miyazaki's autobiographical books, Starting Point and Turning Point