"Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli can now be considered household names around the world, but it wasn’t always that way. Even after quickly finding success in Japan with its hits Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and My Neighbor Totoro, it wasn’t until 1997’s Princess Mononoke that they become heavily involved in creating an international presence and started earning widespread critical acclaim abroad.
To accomplish this, in 1996 American Steve Alpert was brought on as the head of the international division for Studio Ghibli and its parent company at the time, Tokuma Shoten. Given Ghibli’s current success this might seem like an easy task, but at the time Alpert had to constantly juggle the unbending integrity of Miyazaki and reluctance of major companies like Disney and Miramax to take risks on a then-largely unknown animation studio.
As a result, Alpert was sent to work around the globe, meeting various larger-than-life personalities that matched Ghibli’s own characters in terms of outlandishness.
All of this has been captured in his upcoming book Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man. Not only is it an amazing look at the inner-workings of Studio Ghibli but a great example of life and business in Japan as a whole. So, it’s a real pleasure to be able to speak with Steve Alpert and learn a little more about it all."
Read the full interview here.
Pick up a copy of Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli here.