Ghibli Museum Anime Shorts Part I – The Day I Bought A Star

Posted By yonghow on February 11th, 2009

The Ghibli Museum Anime Shorts, each running about 15 minutes long, are animated short films created by Miyazaki Hayao that can only be seen at a single venue in the entire world – the Saturn Theater in Ghibli Museum, located in Mitaka, Tokyo.  Indeed, the animated shorts were created specially for visitors to the museum and have never been released commercially, “allowing children to enjoy them without being influenced by commercialism”, as Miyazaki-san mentioned during a past interview.

(above) Movie pressbooks for the three of the shorts that I’ve seen – The Day I Bought a Star (bottom),  House Searching (top left), and Mei and the baby Cat Bus (top right). To the best of my knowledge, only six short films have ever been made, and at any given time only one film is scheduled for screening at the theater, meaning one will have to make repeat trips to the museum to catch different films. If you have plans to visit the museum and wish to watch a particular film, do check out the screening schedule here.

“The Day I Bought A Star” (星を買った日) was the first short I saw on my inaugural trip to Ghibli Museum.

Based on an original story by Naohisa Inoue, ( who also worked with Miyazaki-san on “Whispers of the Heart”) The Day I Bought A Star follows a boy, Nona, who leaves home and soon finds himself walking in the desert alone, where he starts to sow seeds of stars instead of vegetables. Athough a primarily a children’s film, the story also touches on more mature themes like the coming of age and loneliness; the vibe of the film is somewhat similar to the darker moments in Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

(above) The cast members. Kamiki Ryunosuke, who voices Nona was also the voice for Yubaba’s baby Bo in Spirited Away. ( below ) I absolutely adore the lovely graphical icons they use for the end credits.

(above) Inoue Naohisa, who wrote the original story, illustrates breathtakingly beautiful vistas of fantasy landscapes, of which the background art of this short took reference from.  A few years ago my senior Martin gave an autographed copy of his postcard book to me as a present, ( below ) with Inoue-san saying “Study Hard ! ( for your Japanese )”

You can purchase a copy of the Inoue Naohisa postcard book by following the image link below.

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Has anyone out there watched “The Day I Bought A Star” when they visited Ghibli Museum ? What are your afterthoughts ?


15 Responses to “Ghibli Museum Anime Shorts Part I – The Day I Bought A Star”


Sadly, I did not get to go into the Saturn Theater when I went to the museum. The reason being that I spent way too much time in the bookstore and the gift shop. By the time I was done shopping, the museum was practically closing. I did however, get to go in the cafe after the museum closed though. It won’t be the last time I go to the Ghibli Museum either.

Inoue Naohisa paints very beautifully. Did you watch Iblard Jikan?


Wow! Another reason to revisit Japan. I’ve heard a lot about these Ghibli shorts. Would love to be able to watch them (with subtitles).


Hey Yonghow…

I actually managed to catch the same short when I was in Tokyo around the end of 07. It was magical! So beautiful I couldn’t didn’t want to blink… for fear that I’ll miss something… The press book is wonderful as a keepsake.


I caught The Day I Bought a Star when I visited the museum that time, but I didn’t really quite get the meaning of the entire storyline. Maybe it was too deep for me? I don’t know. But if their target audience are children and even they fail to see the point of the movie, it’s not really that good, actually.

I dunno, maybe children will still like it without getting the story at all. It has pretty visuals, after all.


Otto – You should definitely the screening if you ever visit again, its quite an experience. I haven’t watched Iblard Jikan yet, but I’m going to make it a point to.

Ivy – These shorts are little gems of animation, don’t miss them if you come for a visit ! :]

Jackson – I know just what you mean, I watched it so many years ago but I can still remember how great it felt. I’m definitely going again !

Teokeez – I can’t remember well but were there subtitles ? I think the smaller kids can just enjoy the beautiful visuals and the adults will probably understand and appreciate it in a different way.


Teokeez: yeah… after I saw it, I was like “so the plot was…”

Maybe it’s like Catch-22… a great story without a plot…


Ooooh, that’s the short I saw when I went!

Tim Maughan

I was lucky – and absolutely ecstatic – to see Mai and the Kittenbus when I visited in November. I can honestly say that my girlfriend and I were moved to tears watching that together – Totoro is a hugely important film to both of us, and we just felt so lucky to have seen it. I picked up the book for that one there:

Am hopefully going back on my own later this year…can’t wait to see which one is being shown…


I can’t remember very well either… I don’t think there were any subtitles. I watched it when I was visiting the Museum last year in October, so the details are pretty foggy.


I caught this short when I visited the Ghibli museum last week and it was beautiful! The film was subtitled, but in Japanese (no help to me!) Unfortunately I haven’t learned enough of the language yet, so I was lost on half the plot, but it was still a wonderful experience. I brought my one year-old with me, who loved the beautiful colors in the beginning (and the amazing paintings in the Saturn theater!), but soon enough the calm music of the film soothed him to sleep. 🙂 I also adored the cute icons in the ending credits!!

Anthony Goodman

I saw a screening of “The Day I Bought a Star” at the museum. As a long-time anime buff & Ghibli fan, it was amazing to see one of the very rare shorts. Definitely one of the highlights of my 1 year anime & mecha pilgrimage to Japan.

Elizabeth McClung

I send out postcards and would love to know where I could get a postcard book like that one, as I know I and so many others would love it. You said to ask you so I am hoping you will have a reply?



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