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Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man

Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man

15 Years at Studio Ghibli

A unique behind-the-scenes look at Japanese business and how the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki were introduced to the world.

This highly entertaining business memoir describes what it was like to work for Japan’s premiere animation studio, Studio Ghibli, and it's reigning genius Hayao Miyazaki. Steve Alpert, a Japanese-speaking American, was the “resident foreigner” in the offices of Ghibli and its parent Tokuma Shoten and played a central role when Miyazaki’s films were starting to take off in international markets. 

Alpert describes hauling heavy film canisters of Princess Mononoke to Russia and California, experiencing a screaming Harvey Weinstein, dealing with Disney marketers, and then triumphantly attending glittering galas celebrating the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.

His one-of-a-kind portraits of Miyazaki and long-time producer Toshio Suzuki, and of sly, gruff, and brilliant businessman Yasuyoshi Tokuma, capture the hard work and artistry that have made Ghibli films synonymous with cinematic excellence. 

And as the lone gaijin in a demanding company run by some of the most famous and influential people in modern Japan, Steve Alpert tackles his own challenges of language and culture. No one else could have written this book.
















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"It's a fabulous book. Informative and illuminating."

Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Sandman, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane

"The modern-day Japanese answer to Disney, this company could not be further from the American animation studio model, and Alpert reveals part of why Ghibli's reputation for cinematic excellence is well-deserved, in a memoir that's equal part anecdote and cultural primer."

Shelf Awareness

"Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man may be the only behind-the-scenes book about Studio Ghibli we ever get — at least until Miyazaki finally retires for good."

Nikkei Asian Review

"A massively informative book on Studio Ghibli's pivotal years, with sublime comedy moments."

The Anime News Network

"A wellspring of sharp insights into the studio’s creative process and fiery gossip about its main players."

Cartoon Brew

"An utterly priceless insider account, loaded with shouting matches, dastardly deals, moments of searing creative wisdom and fist-gnawing awkwardness. Ghibli, and anime, will never look the same again."

Jonathan Clements, author of Anime: A History

"A comedic and detailed portal into what it was like to work with one of the world’s most influential animators."

Metropolis Magazine

“I’ve been waiting a long time for Steve Alpert’s book. With humor and insight he describes his years working at Japan’s premiere animation company—Studio Ghibli—where I always marveled at his ability to survive. Fans of Ghibli and its films, and its best-known founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki, will be delighted. And so, too, will anyone interested in Japanese society and business, the animation industry, and problems of intercultural communication.”

Frederik L. Schodt, translator, with Beth Cary, of Hayao Miyazaki’s autobiographical books, Starting Point and Turning Point

"A new book by the studio’s long-time international executive, Japanese-speaking American Steve Alpert, lifts the veil on some of the business transactions and industry practices that led to the studio’s success."

—The South China Morning Post

"An insider’s view of how cultural products are translated and transformed, also how art and commerce collide in the world of cinema."

Japan Forward

"Spirited Away, one of Miyazaki’s most successful films, was my gateway drug to Ghibli’s animation which was in turn my gateway to Japanese culture as a whole, so disenchantment would be a high price for me to pay. Fortunately, though, I derive deep satisfaction from finding out how the things I love are made—it only adds to my experience. For anyone who is like me and who enjoys watching How It’s Made videos and behind the scenes documentaries, Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man is a must."

Kyoto Journal

"A snapshot of one of the film industry’s most exciting times, and an intimate portrayal of the people making the movies we love."

Tokyo Weekender


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About the Author(s)

Steve Alpert

Steve Alpert

Speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently, having lived in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Taipei for a combined total of over thirty-five years. For fifteen years beginning in 1996, he was a senior executive at Studio Ghibli. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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