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The highly anticipated animation film “Suzume no Tojimari” (“Suzume's Locking-Up”) directed by Makoto Shinkai will premiere in fall 2022. We tried to guess where its story is set! What will the next popular anime destination be after Hida from “Your Name.” and Shinjuku from “Weathering with You”?
The film’s press conference
It was announced that Makoto Shinkai, an animation film director known for hits such as “Your Name.” (2016) and “Weathering with You” (2019), will release his next film in fall 2022.
The film's title is “Suzume no Tojimari” (Suzume’s Locking-Up). The storyline is set in ruins across Japan and will be a “movie that depicts the liberation and growth of Suzume, a young girl shutting the 'doors' causing disasters.”
Director Shinkai captivated numerous fans with the beautiful visuals of Japanese sceneries and soundtracks that deeply resonate with the story of his films. There is great anticipation for what gorgeous visuals and music are to come in this new animation film.
Suga Shrine Otokozaka in Tokyo, the setting for the final scene in “Your Name.” Picture from “9 Famous Tokyo Hills Related To Idol Groups, Anime, And History”
For travel lovers, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Shinkai's films is “seichi-meguri” or paying a visit to real-life anime locations.
These locations act as the models for settings that appear in his films and are visited by many fans. “Weathering with You” featured Kisho Shrine in Koenji, Tokyo while Hida Furukawa in Gifu appears in “Your Name.” Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo also appears in “The Garden of Words.”
So, where will the setting be for his next film “Suzume no Tojimari”?
© “Suzume no Tojimari” Production Committee
“Suzume no Tojimari” will feature various locations in Japan. As far as we can tell from the official website, there is no doubt that mountain ruins found in Kyushu will appear in the film.
In fact, ruins immersed in water are shown in the key visual. This may mean that this scene takes place near an ocean or lake.
Based on this hint, we predict there’s a possibility of these ruins being in Kyushu.
Photo by Pixta
Gunkanjima, located off the coast of Nagasaki, originally served as a place for undersea coal mining. At the height of prosperity in 1960, there were around 5,300 people living on the island with access to a school, hospital, movie theater, and pachinko parlors.
As the industry transitioned from coal to petroleum as the main energy source, the coal mines closed in 1974. The island was deserted, leaving behind huge ruins. The sight of these abandoned buildings on the water’s edge may have served as inspiration for Director Shinkai’s film.
In 2015, Gunkanjima was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of “Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining.” Currently, visitors can go sightseeing on the island by participating in tours offered by shipping companies.
Photo by Pixta
The Sogi Power Plant Ruins in Kagoshima is famous for its abandoned buildings in the mountains.
The Sogi Power Plant was a hydropower plant constructed during the Meiji Period that contributed to the growth of Japan’s chemical engineering industry. Afterward, the Tsuruda Dam was completed in 1965 and resulted in the submerging of the plant. Today, the power plant can only be seen out of water during the dry season between May to September.
The power plant is visible from Prospect Park on the opposite side of the riverbank. Tours are held by the Isa City Tourism and Local Products Association (Japanese) in the summer.
Appearing as ruins submerged in water by a mountain dam, this could possibly be one place chosen in the imagery of “Suzume no Tojimari.”
Photo by Pixta
Buildings standing in the background of either a lake or pool of water are in the key visual of “Suzume no Tojimari.” The ruins in this composition resemble the Former Bungo Mori Roundhouse (Japanese) in Oita.
The Former Bungo Mori Roundhouse was built in 1934 as the relay point connecting Kurume in Fukuoka to Oita City. Up to 25 steam locomotives were affiliated with the roundhouse during its prosperity.
The roundhouse became obsolete with the dieselization of railways in 1970. Today, the roundhouse is a park and home to the Bungo Mori Roundhouse Museum (Japanese).
There are no pools of water here. However, the sight of the roundhouse’s towering ruins behind the circular railway turntable strongly resembles the film’s main imagery.
There are plenty of locations across Japan that could be the setting for the film. Join in the fun and try to predict the places that will be the setting for “Suzume no Tojimari!”
Main image courtesy of ©”Suzume no Tojimari” Production Committee