Miyazaki Hayao’s Final Film ‘How Do You Live’: Maximum Secrecy to Be Maintained Until Release

Studio Ghibli, the iconic Japanese animation studio, will maintain a cloud of secrecy for as long as possible around “How Do You Live,” the final film from maestro Miyazaki Hayao (“Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Princess Mononoke”).

The new movie is scheduled to arrive in theaters in Japan on July 14, but Studio Ghibli and its partners will do away with pre-release advertising and advanced information. To date it has released only a single enigmatic poster of a bird.

In a long interview with Bungei Shunju magazine now available on YouTube, Studio Ghibli president and producer Suzuki Toshio explained the unusual strategy as a ploy to whet the appetites of fans. They have been denied a new film by Miyazaki film since the 2013 “The Wind Rises.”

“They’ll want to see for themselves what the film is about,” Suzuki said. “And to do that, they’ll have to go a theater.”

When the magazine’s editor mentioned that the film is reportedly based on “How Do You Live,” a 1937 coming-of-age novel by Genzaburo Yoshino with a young male protagonist, Suzuki said that Miyazaki “only borrowed the title,” implying that plot descriptions available on the Internet based on summaries of Yoshino’s novel may be incorrect. Miyazaki, however, has previously called “How Do You Live” one of his favorite books.

Not mentioned by Suzuki, though known to long-time Studio Ghibli observers, is that Miyazaki’s perfectionism has previously led to production delays. These have meant that while Miyazaki films may hit their opening dates, they have done so minus the usual weeks and months of press screenings by distributor Toho.

Releasing no ads, trailers or information about the voice cast, however, is an extreme milestone, even for Studio Ghibli.

The film has been pre-sold in overseas territories, but currently has no foreign release dates penciled in.

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