The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s founding directors, are well known. The achievements of Toshio Suzuki, the third man who has steered the storied studio from day one, are harder to pin down. That is partly because they’re so disparate: he has served as Ghibli’s managing director and president, produced most of its films, orchestrated their marketing campaigns, promoted them through his charismatic media appearances, and more.
His route to Ghibli, however, ran through publishing. Throughout the 1980s, Suzuki was an editor at the influential Animage, Japan’s first dedicated animation magazine aimed at the general reader. He championed the works of Miyazaki and Takahata in its pages and came to know the men well in the process, eventually co-founding Ghibli with them in the middle of that decade.
Animage and Suzuki are the joint subjects of an exhibition coming to Japan this spring. “Animage and Ghibli — The Work of Toshio Suzuki: It Began with One Magazine” will trace Suzuki’s career through his time at the magazine, which played a key role in fomenting an anime fandom in Japan through its coverage of Miyazaki and Takahata, but also other epochal works like Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam.