Aside from the upcoming Studio Ghibli Theme Park, the official Studio Ghibli Museum located in Mitaka is probably as sacred ground as it gets for fans of the celebrated animation studio. Designed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki himself (who also seems to be a big fan of visiting its cafe) the museum sometimes shows exclusive short films in its theater and a visit is much like stepping into a blended universe of Studio Ghibli's classic films.

So it's no wonder that when the museum was in a financial pinch and its future in doubt, those same fans came together in an overwhelming show of support. The city of Mitaka, where the museum is located, announced a "Furusato Tax" online crowdfunding fund to support the Studio Ghibli Museum which has taken a hard hit during the pandemic.

A Furusato Tax is a donatable tax that many Japanese people who have moved away to different cities use to support their hometowns from afar, usually with a local delicacy given in return as a thank you gift. In this case, Mitaka is taking all Furusato Taxes donated and sending them to The Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation, which operates the museum. At the time of writing, the fund has already exceeded its goal of 10,000,000 yen, sitting at a comfortable 118% with plenty of time still remaining.

The museum has been running at a large deficit due to a sharp drop in income caused by the pandemic (the museum is currently closed and will be slowly opening to only residents of Mitaka via a lottery system this month), and has so far withdrawn 350 million yen from its reserve fund for large-scale repairs. "If the deficit and the withdrawal of reserves continue, the proper operation of the facility and the systematic maintenance and preservation of the building and equipment will be in jeopardy in the future," the museum said on Furusato Tax website.

The future looks bright, however, and the results speak to love Ghibli fans have for the museum, the animation studio, and the city itself. The Furusato Tax donation website takes a minimum 5,000 yen contribution and all who donate will receive a thank-you card.

By - Big Neko.