Goro Miyazaki Heads For Kokuriko Hill

1980 manga gets Studio Ghibli treatment

Following Tales From Earthsea, which was somewhat crushed under the weight of expectation, Goro Miyazaki's next project will be Kokurikozaka Kara, from the 1980 manga by Tetsuro Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi.

Goro and his father Hayao (Spirited Away) had a rather public falling-out over Earthsea, with Hayao going so far as to question his son's choice of career in the press. But that water seems to be under the bridge now, and Hayao will once again be contributing the screenplay for his son's sophomore effort, in collaboration with Keiko Niwa (The Borrower Arrietty).

Kokurikozaka Kara ("From Kokuriko Hill") doesn't seem to be a manga that has ever travelled outside of Japan (or at least, it hasn't been translated into English at this point), but is apparently a coming-of-age story about a girl in Yokahama in 1963 whose father disappears. Aoi Teshima, who played Theru in Earthsea, is on theme-song duty.

The film is the second of three Ghibli projects being given to young directors (the first was Hiromasa Yonebayashi's Arrietty, based on Mary Norton's Borrowers books), in a five-year plan which will end with "two very big projects".

In a message to Goro, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said "For a director, your second work is important, because your true measure is shown". No pressure then. Kokurikozaka Kara is scheduled for summer 2011, but is already behind schedule.