Studio Ghibli fans were treated to good news today, as the Japanese animation workshop revealed a hand-drawn teaser poster and the Japanese theatrical release date for How Do You Live (tentative title), the latest feature film from studio co-founder and animation legend Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, The Wind Rises, Princess Mononoke). In a tweet also shared by Studio Ghibli North America (managed by GKIDS), the film was slated to premiere on July 14, 2023.
The project is an adaptation of the 1937 novel How Do You Live? (Kimi-tachi wa Dou Ikuru ka), originally written by Yūzō Yamamoto as part of a serial but handed off to writer Yoshino Genzaburo due to the author’s illness. The story centers on 15-year-old high schooler Junichi Honda, who goes by “Koperu” (after the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus). As he experiences the ups and downs of growing up, his beloved uncle keeps a diary of their talks about emotional challenges, life, relationships and the world.
The new feature film from director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli has been announced! HOW DO YOU LIVE (tentative title) opens in theaters in Japan on July 14, 2023. https://t.co/fHnLM6epTS
— Studio Ghibli (@GhibliUSA) December 13, 2022
Ghibli’s early key art for the film is causing speculation: A close-up of what appears to be a bird-like creature or perhaps a person wearing a bird costume. Throughout his career, Miyazaki has explored both the subtle details of real life and the natural world, as well as inventing expansive and fantastical casts of supernatural characters. It will be interesting to see which avenues he follows in telling Koperu’s story.
How Do You Live was officially announced in 2017 — bringing repeat “retiree” Miyazaki back again after his triumphant “final film,” Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises (2013). The globally esteemed animator, who turns 82 in January, has been working at a slowed but steady pace, according to producer and Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki.
It has been a busy period for Studio Ghibli, which opened a whimsical 18-acre Theme Park at the Aichi Expo Memorial Park (three-hour train ride from Tokyo) in November. A stage adaptation of My Neighbor Totoro by the Royal Shakespeare Company also opened in London. The studio joined forces with Lucasfilm on a new animated short featuring Grogu (The Mandalorian) and the coal dust bunnies from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, which premiered on Disney+ in November.