Studio Ghibli has been sold to Nippon TV following a decade-long struggle to find a successor for co-founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki. The acquisition was carried out on Thursday during a meeting between the Board of Directors of both companies. They approved a resolution for Nippon TV to purchase majority shares of Studio Ghibli.
The Tokyo-based animation company has a long history with Nippon, with the latter helping in producing Ghibli films such as Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) and the award-winning The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013). Both companies also collaborated to set up the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo in 2001, while the design was planned by Hayao Miyazaki.
Terms of Nippon TV’s takeover of Studio Ghibli
Nippon Television Holdings Inc. acquired a 42.3% stake in Studio Ghibli on September 21, 2023. Even though it has become a subsidiary company, Nippon stated that it will respect Ghibli’s autonomy and protect its craftsmanship and brand values. Studio Ghibli will continue to produce animated films and operate the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park.
The financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed. When the terms of the deal become effective in October this year, there will be a change in the leadership as senior executive at Nippon TV, Hiroyuki Fukuda will replace Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki. Miyazaki will serve as Honorary Chairman from thereon.
The end of an era, Studio Ghibli will become a subsidiary company after over 38 years of independent reign. It was founded in June 1985 after the success of the Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Subsequently, the studio had notable partnerships and relationships with Walt Disney Studios and the magazine Animage.
Studio Ghibli has produced multiple acclaimed animations like My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Spirited Away (2001), and Grave of the Fireflies (1988). The 82-year-old Hayao Miyazaki even won an Oscar for Spirited Away in the ‘Best Animated Feature‘ category in 2003.
Why did Studio Ghibli get sold to Nippon TV?
Hayao Miyazaki retired in 2013 after the success of The Wind Rises at the Japanese box office. Since then, the problem of a successor has loomed over Studio Ghibli. Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s eldest son, was “mentioned several times as the successor to Studio Ghibli” as per a statement by the studio. However, he declined, stating it would be difficult for him to manage Ghibli on his own.
Miyazaki’s youngest son, Keisuke, is a printmaker. Given that he was out of contention for handling Studio Ghibli, the company started “considering various candidates to hand over management” and then began discussions with Nippon Television.
Here is what the official statement read:
“With director Hayao Miyazaki now 82 years old and producer Toshio Suzuki also 75, Studio Ghibli has long been struggling with the issue of their successors… Studio Ghibli has been considering various candidates to hand over management to someone else. Through these circumstances, discussions recently began between Nippon Television and Studio Ghibli, who have had a close relationship for many years.”
The deal between Studio Ghibli and Nippon TV was actually done last year. It was only finalized by the shareholding acquisition recently. Toshio Suzuki spoke to Nippon Television’s Chairman and Executive Officer Mikuni Sugiyama at a hot spring resort. He asked Sugiyama if he intended to help Ghibli in making movies by taking over its management and the latter replied in the affirmative.