Japan Airlines (JAL) and Studio Ghibli unveiled the Boeing 787 jetliner decorated by Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki himself and seven winners of a children's art contest at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Saturday.
JAL had collaborated with Ghibli on the film Porco Rosso, and it held an art contest from 2007 to 2008 to illustrate the newest member of its fleet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Unfortunately, Boeing delayed its delivery of the 787 by five years and JAL filed for bankruptcy in 2010, so JAL had to wait until now to unveil the jet as part of its "Sora o Tobu" ("Fly the Skies") Project.
The jetliner features art from Hayao Miyazaki, the grand prize winner Yūko Yamaguchi from Tokushima Prefecture, and six other contest winners chosen from 13,474 entries. Yamaguchi was a fifth grader when she won the contest judged by Miyazaki and others, but she attended Saturday's unveiling as a 15-year-old along with the other winners. Another winner, Futoshi Konta, was living in Shanghai when he won but has since moved back to Yamagata Prefecture.
As part of the "Sora o Tobu" Project, JAL flights will screen Porco Rosso and "Kūsō no Sora Tobu Kikai-tachi" ("The Machines that Fly the Skies of Dreams"), the rare 2002 animation short by Miyazaki. He not only directed the short, but also narrated it.
Miyazaki was unable to attend the ceremony; Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki explained that the director is deep in production of a film "with lots of airplanes." Anime director Osamu Kobayashi (Beck, Paradise Kiss) reported in July that he heard that Miyazaki's latest work will tell the story of the designer of the Zero Fighter, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.