All About Japan

Hungry for Ghibli-Style Animation?

Farming Ghibli Video Kumamoto

While it seems Hayao Miyazaki is retired for good, many of the artists who had a hand in Studio Ghibli’s success are still working today—including Koji Aritomi, whose biggest Ghibli credit is assistant director for Princess Mononoke. Aritomi was also involved in the production of Ghibli projects Whisper of the Heart, Pom Poko, Porco Rosso, On Your Mark and Ocean Waves (also known as I Can Hear the Sea).

Outside of Ghibli, he’s also been an episode director for Space Brothers and Kill la Kill. But now Aritomi is carrying on Studio Ghibli’s tradition of rendering delicious-looking food in anime form by serving as the animation director on this promotional video for Japan Agriculture’s Kumamoto division.

The short is titled Nikoyaka Restaurant, with “Nikoyaka” being a mix of the first syllables in the Japanese words niku (meat), kome (rice), yasai (vegetables) and kajitsu (fruits). During its roughly 90-second run time, we see the two cooks of the Nikoyaka Restaurant whip up dishes for hungry customers—using locally-sourced ingredients, of course—while a young girl (presumably the cooks’ daughter) lends a hand.

But Ghibli isn’t the only famous animation studio in the short’s pedigree. Project supervisor Takahiro Ikezo is currently attached to Walt Disney Animation Japan, and has also been an animator on anime including Den-noh Coil, Fuse and Polar Bear's Café.

Oh, and if you’re in the mood to sing along, here are the lyrics to the Nikoyaka Restaurant song:

Nikoyaka no ni wa oniku no ni
Nikoyaka no ko wa okome no ko
Nikoyaka no ya wa yasai no ya
Nikoyaka no ka wa kajitsu no ka


The "ni" in Nikoyaka is the "ni" in niku.
The "ko" in Nikoyaka is the "ko" in kome.
The "ya" in Nikoyaka is the "ya" in yasai.
The "ka" in Nikoyaka is the "ka" in kajitsu.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we really can’t ignore the rumbling in our stomachs any longer, so it’s off to the kitchen to get dinner ready.

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