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Japan-Update

Studio Ghibli names new boss; move speeds theme park

Head of the anime studio's museum takes helm

Nakajima had served director of the Ghibli Museum.

TOKYO -- Studio Ghibli has made its first leadership change in nine years, a move expected to galvanize the legendary animation studio's effort to open a theme park in the early 2020s.

Kiyofumi Nakajima was appointed president Tuesday, replacing Koji Hoshino, who has become chairman with representative rights.

Nakajima was the director of the Ghibli Museum, a tribute to the studio's anime works, for 12 years from 2005. Before that, he was with the predecessor of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Kiyofumi Nakajima

"We'll work on new businesses," Nakajima said in a statement.

Nakajima is expected to draw on his experience running the museum in implementing the studio's plans to open an anime-based theme park, tentatively called Ghibli Park, in Aichi Prefecture, west of Tokyo.

The executive management overhaul was also prompted by the return this May of Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, who has come out of retirement, a company representative said. The studio, known for such internationally beloved works as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away," is now producing a feature film titled "Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka," which translates as "How Do You Live?"

"Our organization had become inflexible," said Toshio Suzuki, producer and representative director, indicating that the anime house is gearing up for the new film and the theme park business with the leadership revamp and Miyazaki's comeback.

(Nikkei)

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