Nekobus /The Jakata Post
Nekobus /The Jakata Post

Jakarta tumbles into ‘World of Ghibli’

lifestyle September 11, 2017 01:00

By Marcel Thee
The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network

The Japanese animation studio has mounted an exhibition with Indonesians in mind

The acclaimed animation work of Japan’s Studio Ghibli has attracted the attention of Indonesians. 

That work might not yet be as embedded in Indonesian pop culture as some of Japan’s other exports, such as TV series, girl groups and manga comics. But the studio’s output is globally praised and has even won Oscars.

An exhibition continuing through Sunday (September 17) at the Ritz-Carlton in Jakarta is sure to build on growing local fascination.

Among the displays in the show mounted in collaboration with an outfit called the World of Ghibli Jakarta, Marubeni and Hakuhodo, are the first 8.5 metres of Howl’s installation “Moving Castle”.

You can see a replica of Totoro and the cat-shaped Nekobus from “My Neighbour Totoro”, the Laputa robot and its Flapter from “Castle in the Sky” and the beach and aircraft from “Porco Roso”.


Totoro/The Jakata Post

Theirs is Ponyo’s wall from “Ponyo” and Baby Ohmu from “Nausica of the Valley of the Wind”.

“We want to spread the positive message of Ghibli in the Southeast Asia market, especially now, when demand for world-class exhibitions is growing,” says Ignes Dea, a company representative at the show.

“We want to show the capabilities of Indonesian and Japanese artists and to spread the values and philosophical approach that Studio Ghibli represents.” 

Aware of the studio’s underdog status in Indonesia, organisers of the exhibition, which was preceded by limited screenings of the studio’s movies, aim to change that.

“Honestly, we feel that Studio Ghibli exposure in Indonesia is still quite low, and that’s why we need to make a ‘big splash’ with this exhibition, for people to recognise Studio Ghibli and the spirit it represents,” Dea says.


The organisers are confident that the values found in Ghibli films will connect with Indonesians.

“Talking about connections, a lot of Studio Ghibli movies have a philosophical approach, like nature, female heroines and the balance between good and evil, so we think it relates with many people, including the Indonesian market,” Dea says.

“For example, ‘Princess Mononoke’ is a movie about balance and conflict between nature and man, and one of the movie’s signature objects is a sacred forest. And Indonesia is home to many forests and amazing nature.”

The exhibition includes the “Mononoke Forest” installation specifically to help Indonesians understand the value of forests and nature. 

Nekobus /The Jakata Post

“We want to spread a positive message about the importance of balance,” Dea says.

Many Indonesian designers were part of the exhibition. They designed the blueprints for the installations with the support and assistance of Studio Ghibli representatives.

The exhibition is an attempt to celebrate one of the world’s most-respected animation studios and one of Japan’s most recognised pop-culture exports.

“These Indonesian artists are young and talented and Studio Ghibli is very impressed with their work,” says Dea.

The blueprints were given to local vendors and production began under the close supervision of the artists and studio representatives.

Some are first-time installations that you will not see anywhere else in the world, such as the Laputa robot, which is bigger and a lot closer in interpretation to the animation, compared with the one at Museum Ghibli in Mitaka, Japan.

The Nekobus cat bus is also bigger than the one in the museum. And photographing the original Nekobus in Japan is not allowed, unlike in Jakarta.

Dea said anyone with a passing interest in Japanese pop culture should visit.

“This is a collaboration between Indonesian and Japanese craftsmanship. This is the biggest exhibition in the history of Studio Ghibli, so we want to bring the imaginative world of Studio Ghibli to life.”