This is not a drill. Studio Ghibli, the acclaimed studio behind My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and countless other films is looking for digital animators for an upcoming feature film.
Applicants will need to be over 20, able to live in Japan by the end of May and speak “sufficient Japanese for the job,” according to the listing posted on the Studio Ghibli website on April 15.
Those with animation ambitions hardly need reminding of Ghibli’s significance and prestige. It’s right up there with Disney and Pixar. As such, a successful applicant is going to need a little more than a physical presence and basic language skills.
The posting also calls for previous work experience as a plus, as well as professional experience with OpenToonz or RETAS animation software and Photoshop.
The job itself is specifically to work in Tokyo on an upcoming feature film, but regardless of whether one stays on after the project they’re bound to get major kudos for the experience. Exact numbers aren’t given, but the listing is for “a small number of people.”
How to apply
If you think you’ve got what it takes, you’ll need to download and fill out the CV form from the listing, as well as write up to 800 characters (in Japanese, of course) about yourself and your experience. This being a Japanese CV, you should be doing all this by hand. For help making a Japanese CV read this step-by-step guide.
If you’ve already worked on animations that have been publicly released — and, let’s face it, the successful applicants probably will have done — you should also submit a list of previous titles and your role. Perhaps tellingly, there’s no word limit for this part.
Should you impress them sufficiently, interviews will take place until June 14th. FYI interviews in Japan are typically a mysterious ritual of cultural cues and codes that also involves a lot of bowing. But according to Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of When Marnie Was There, things can get a lot weirder, with applicants asked to sharpen pencils or cut up a watermelon in front of Hayao Miyazaki. Whether or not that surprises you probably says a lot about how well you’ll fit in.
The deadline for applications is May 31st. As luck would have it, current Japan residents have a whole Golden Week free to work on a perfect application, plus or minus some pencil-sharpening practice. Good luck!
For more on finding a job in Japan
- Check out GaijinPot Jobs for the latest job postings across a variety of industries.
- Living outside of Japan? Take a look at these jobs that accept applicants from abroad.
- Can’t speak Japanese just yet? These positions don’t require Japanese ability.
- If you did want to learn Japanese, GaijinPot Study is a study platform that helps set you up at a language school in Japan.
- For resources and information on working in Japan, our Japan 101 section has all you need to know on employment here.
- For real-life experiences from our community of writers, dive into the jobs in Japan and working culture in Japan blog archives.