Toshio Suzuki, the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, is embroiled in a scandal caused by Suzuki pouring money from the animation studio to his lover.
According to a French translation by Ludovic Gottigny (@/Arion80) of the Shukan Josei magazine investigation and later an English translation by William Moo (@/thewriterSITB), Suzuki, who co-founded Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and previously held the position of President of Studio Ghibli embezzled the company’s public funds. Instead, the money has gone to the woman Suzuki has been seeing since 2013. Koji Hoshino, the current president of Studio Ghibli, is retiring at the end of March and has announced that he will be leaving the company in June. Hoshino said his reason for leaving was because the company had “neglected a problem for many years. It was producer Toshio Suzuki, Ghibli’s first president, that was the problem.”
According to the article, Suzuki fell in love with a woman, identified as Kanyada in the article, in 2013, after which he is said to have donated a large amount of money to help her open a spa and restaurant. However, neither of them lasted long before being liquidated.
How Suzuki took advantage of Studio Ghibli
In 2018, Studio Ghibli approved the opening of a restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, where Suzuki appointed Kanyada as manager. Furthermore, Kanyada, who is said to have no photography experience, will be the official photographer for the upcoming photo book. Since then, several Studio Ghibli employees have revealed anonymously, saying they have been forced to perform odd jobs for Kanyada on Suzuki’s orders. All of Kanyada’s travel and living expenses were covered by the studio under the guise of working with Suzuki. When the co-founder of Studio Ghibli held a photo exhibition at a hot spring spot, one of the employees commented that Suzuki just wanted to “go to a hot spring with your girlfriend.”
Hoshino, who has expressed concern about Suzuki spending the company’s money in the past, advised the former chairman, asking him to separate his private and public life. Dissatisfied with the reprimand, Suzuki dismissed Hoshino from the position of chairman. When asked about his feelings about Hoshino’s resignation from Shukan Josei, Suzuki is said to have said that he doesn’t care.
Suzuki has not released a statement on the matter since the publication of this article. Suzuki is currently credited as one of the producers for Miyazaki’s final studio film How Do You Live?, which is set to premiere in July 2023.
Source: Twitter, via Shukan Josei