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The Disney-Tokuma Deal
(last update: September 10, 2003)

[Ghibli Home Video?]

The Disney-Tokuma Deal grants worldwide distribution rights for certain Studio Ghibli films to the Walt Disney Corporation.

Other sections of this summary (below):

Which Studio Ghibli works are included?
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Spirited Away
Tonari no Yamada-kun
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Mononoke Hime
Princess Mononoke
Majo no Takkyubin
Kiki's Delivery Service
Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta
Castle in the Sky
Tonari no Totoro
My Neighbor Totoro
Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä
Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind
Omohide Poro Poro
Only Yesterday
Kurenai no Buta
Porco Rosso / The Crimson Pig
Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pom Poko
(Heisei-era Raccoon War) Pom Poko
Mimi wo Sumaseba
Whisper of the Heart
Where and when will they be released?

Disney has contributed some or all of these films to various film festivals around the world. Please check the film festival schedule for presentations local to you. Many videos are missing from this list. For an up-to-date list visit the Video Release page.

Other schedules (below):


We suspect, but have not confirmed, that Miramax Films will handle all U.S. theatrical releases, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment will handle all U.S. home video releases.

Castle in the Sky
Home video release: Apr. 15, 2003 (DVD, VHS)
Theatrical release: N/A
Festival presentation: Sep. 1999

Princess Mononoke
Home video release: Dec. 19, 2000 (DVD)
Home video release: Aug. 29, 2000 (VHS)
Theatrical release: Oct. 29, 1999

Kiki's Delivery Service
Home video release: Apr. 15, 2003 (DVD)
Home video release: Sep. 01, 1998 (VHS, LD)
Festival presentation: May 23, 1998

Spirited Away
Home video release: Apr. 15, 2003 (DVD, VHS)
Festival presentation: Sep 10, 2002

Pom Poko
Festival presentation: 1995

My Neighbor Totoro
Home video release: 1994 (VHS: Fox Video)
Home video release: Dec. 3, 2002 (DVD: Fox Video)
Theatrical release: TBD (1993: Troma Pictures)


Princesse Mononoke
Theatrical release: June 21, 2000


Princess Mononoke
Home video release: 2001 (DVD)
Home video release: Aug. 29, 2000 (VHS) [info]
Theatrical release: Oct. 29, 1999


Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
(French title unknown as of June 6, 2001)
Theatrical release: November/December, 2001

Mes voisins les Yamada
Theatrical release: April 4, 2001

Princesse Mononoke
Theatrical release: Jan. 12, 2000

Porco Rosso
Home video release: Oct. 06, 1999 (DVD)
Theatrical release: Jun. 24, 1995 [review]


Prinzessin Mononoke
Theatrical release: April 19, 2001 (dub)
Theatrical release: April 16, 2001 (sub)
Festival presentation: Feb. 11, 1998 (Berlin Int'l Film Festival)


Principessa Mononoke
Home video release: Oct. 25, 2000 (DVD)
Theatrical release: May 19, 2000


Ksiezniczka Mononoke
Theatrical release: Sept. 8, 2000
Theatrical release: Sept. 2, 2000 (advanced screening)


Princesa Mononoke
Theatrical release: June 23, 2000 (English dub, Portug. sub?)

Kiki, A Aprendiz de Feiticeira
Home video release: Apr. 2000 (VHS)


La Princesa Mononoke
Home video release: Oct. 18, 2000 (VHS)
Theatrical release: April 7, 2000 (dub)

Mi Vecino Totoro
Home video release: (VHS)

Nicky, La Aprendiz de Bruja
Home video release: (VHS)

Porco Rosso
Home video release: (VHS)

South Korea

Baram Kyegog ui Naushika
Theatrical release (not by Disney): December 30, 2000


Prinzessin Mononoké
Theatrical release: March 16, 2000

United Kingdom

(all D-T Deal films, plus Grave, but not Spirited Away)
Festival presentation: October 25, 2001 (Barbican, London)

Princess Mononoke
Home video release: October, 2001 (VHS, DVD, or both?)
Festival presentation: October 25, 2001 (Barbican, London)


(DVD release schedule)

I Can Hear the Sea
Home video release: Jul. 23, 1999 (VHS)

Only Yesterday
Home video release: Jul. 02, 1999 (VHS)

Pom Poko
Home video release: Dec. 26, 1998 (VHS)

Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Home video release: Sep. 18, 1998 (VHS)

Princess Mononoke
Home video release: Jun. 26, 1998 (VHS)

Kiki's Delivery Service
Home video release: Nov. 21, 1997 (VHS)

Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind
Home video release: Sep. 19, 1997 (VHS)

Grave of the Fireflies
Home video release: Aug. 07, 1997 (VHS)

Whisper of the Heart
Home video release: Jul. 25, 1997 (VHS)

My Neighbor Totoro
Home video release: Jun. 27, 1997 (VHS)

How can clubs ask Disney for permission to show Studio Ghibli films?

We will not give out the contact information of our contacts at Disney, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Miramax Films, or Studio Ghibli without their permission.

That said, we might be able to help by providing publicly released contact information for BVHE and Studio Ghibli, or forwarding e-mail to them on your behalf.

If you want to show an official VHS, LD, DVD, or 35mm print to your club:

  1. Compose a letter asking Buena Vista Home Entertainment for permission. Please include relevant details about your event, such as:
    • Where will it be shown?
    • When will it be shown, and how many times? (Send your request a reasonable amount of time in advance - a month would be great, a week would be ridiculous.)
    • Who will you be showing it to? (How large an audience, and is it public or private?)
    • Will you charge an admission fee? (It would be better if you didn't.)
    • What format is it? VHS? DVD? 35mm film?
    • Do you have it already, or must Disney send it to you?
    • How can Disney contact you with their answer?
  2. E-mail the letter to Team Ghiblink so that we can forward it to Buena Vista on your behalf.
    Mail the letter directly to Disney.

More information

Read Studio Ghibli's official announcement about the Disney-Tokuma Deal.

Find answers to other Frequently Asked Questions.

Read 20 newspaper and magazine articles that ran in U.S. publications, describing the Disney-Tokuma Deal. Here are 10 more.

Download Team Ghiblink presentations about the Disney-Tokuma Deal:

Old information
1999, Nov. 8:
An old version of this information.
1999, Mar. 22:
An old version of news about the North American release of "Kiki's Delivery Service."
1998, May 25:
An old version of this information (a text file).


A brief disclaimer

  • This is not an official site approved by Disney. The final details are subject to change without notice.
  • This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, but your contributions and corrections are welcome.
  • Some of the information is old and/or outdated. Please bear with us as the information is slowly updated.


The Disney-Tokuma Deal is an agreement made in 1996 between the Walt Disney Corporation and Tokuma Publishing. As a result of this agreement, Disney was granted:

  • The worldwide (including Japan, but excluding the rest of Asia) home video distribution rights to certain Studio Ghibli works [see list at left].
  • The worldwide (excluding Asia) theatrical distribution rights to the film Princess Mononoke.
  • The worldwide distribution rights to several live action movies produced by Tokuma Publishing, such as "Opium Wars" and "Gamera 2."

Not included

  • Disney's worldwide film and video distribution rights do not include Asia.
  • Disney's worldwide video distribution rights do include Japan, as an exception to the above.
  • DVD rights were not included in the deal.
  • "Grave of the Fireflies" is not included in the deal because Tokuma Publishing does not hold the rights to it. It was produced by a company called Shinchosha. English-subbed and dubbed "Grave" is currently available from Central Park Media.
  • "I Can Hear the Sea/Ocean Waves" was not included either, probably because it was a film made specifically for television.

What's Changed?

The agreement between Tokuma and Disney has evolved over time to include items not covered under the original plan.

These changes were never formally announced and we can only guess at the current state of the deal.

Release schedule

In North America: "Kiki's Delivery Service" was video released on September 1, 1998. It is also available on Laserdisc. Kirsten Dunst (as Kiki), Phil Hartman (as Jiji), Debbie Reynolds (as Madam), Janeane Garofalo (as Ursula) and Mathew Lawrence (as Tombo) are in the voice casts. "Kiki" has been also shown at various film festivals around the US, including Seattle, Nashville, Florida, Atlanta, and Hawaii. An English subtitled version is also available.

"Mononoke Hime" was released in the United States and Canada as "Princess Mononoke" on October 29, 1999 by Disney-owned Miramax [official site]. The voice cast includes Claire Danes (Romeo & Juliet, The Rainmaker) as San, Gillian Anderson (X-Files) as Moro, Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) as Eboshi, Billy Crudup (Sleepers) as Ashitaka, and Billy Bob Thornton (Slingblade) as Jiko Bou [more information].

"Laputa, Castle in the Sky" has been renamed "Castle in the Sky", because "Laputa" is an offensive word in Spanish. Disney was considering releasing "Castle" in theaters, not just on video, but eventually decided on a video-only release. Joe Hisaishi rescored the soundtrack in Seattle in 1999 to make it more suitable for a North American theatrical release and the American market. The trailer available in the "Kiki's Delivery Service" home video said that "Castle" would be released on video in 1999, but various factors pushed the release back to 2003. Anna Paquin (The Piano) plays Sheeta, James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek) plays Pazu, Mark Hamill (Star Wars) plays Muska, and Cloris Leachman plays Dola. Mandy Patinkin and Michael McShane are also in the voice cast.

"Spirited Away" was dubbed into English under the supervision of John Lasseter. The film was released in theaters on September 20, 2002, and on DVD on April 15th, 2003 after receiving the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

In Japan [see schedule at left]: Disney (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) has been releasing the sell-through videos and DVDs of the following films:

  • "My Neighbor Totoro"
  • "Whisper of the Heart"
  • "Nausicaa"
  • "Kiki's Delivery Service"
  • "Mononoke Hime"
  • "Grave of the Fireflies"
  • "Laputa: Castle in the Sky"
  • "Pom Poko"
  • "Porco Rosso"
  • "Only Yesterday"
  • "I Can Hear the Sea"
  • "My Neighbors the Yamadas"
  • "Spirited Away"

Each costs 4,500 yen (excl. tax), letterboxed, with HiFi stereo (except Nausicaa), and is digitally remastered.

For additional information on release dates and features, please visit our Video pages.

In Europe: "Mononoke Hime" was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 11, 1998. It has been also reported that MH will be released in UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. There have been news reports in Japan that French and German versions are in production. There is an official French site for Princess Mononoke.

"Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" won the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. For articles and reactions, visit the Impressions page.

Other Areas: A Portuguese dub of Mononoke Hime was completed and included on the Japanese DVD. However, the film has yet been released in Brazil in theaters or on video.

In Asia: The Disney-Tokuma deal does not include the Asian market (except Japan). Tokuma still retains the rights to the Asian market. "Mononoke Hime" was shown in theaters in Hong Kong and Taiwan in August, 1997.

Subtitles vs. Dubbing

"Princess Mononoke"'s foreign releases have been available both subtitled and dubbed, depending upon the language. The English theatrical release was dubbed. However, the DVD is confirmed to contain English and French subtitles.

Disney has released a English-subbed VHS of "Kiki's Delivery Service" in the US in September, 1998.

The laserdisc of "Kiki's Delivery Service" includes original Japanese language track with English closed captioning, though they are based on the dub script.

Four of the Ghibli films have already been dubbed into English by Carl Macek, but Disney is going to redub all of them, including "Totoro", which was considered to be an excellent dub, even by dub-haters. Since Disney has vast experience in dubbing (not to mention money), we are expecting the new dubs to be superbly done. Disney hired "Class A talent" to dub "Kiki's Delivery Service", "Castle in the Sky", "Princess Mononoke", and "Spirited Away". Inside information from Disney says that Disney is spending 10 times the money when compared to the average anime dubbing job. Neil Gaiman, the writer of "The Sandman", has worked on the English script of "Princess Mononoke", and Disney reportedly spent about $2.1 million to dub "Princess Mononoke".


"Kiki's Delivery Service" is available on LD, as well as on DVD/VHS. No other films are available on LD.


When the original deal was struck in 1996, Disney was still not sure about DVD's future, so they didn't negotiate DVD rights as part of the deal. Disney has since negotiated for the DVD rights to "Princess Mononoke" and all other films in the Disney-Tokuma Deal. Please visit the Video Release page for the latest information.

Letterbox vs. Pan & Scan

The "Kiki" subbed VHS and laserdisc are letterboxed. All DVD releases are presented in their Original Aspect Ratio.


Will Disney modify (i.e. cut scenes from) these films?

No. This will not happen. Disney can not cut even one second from the films, according to the contract. Ghibli has officially stated that "With Disney's commitment to maintain the quality of the original titles, there will be no changes to music and sequences in foreign language versions." According to Mr. Suzuki, the producer of Ghibli, other companies such as Fox and Time-Warner contacted Tokuma, but Disney was the only company willing to agree to this condition, and that was the main reason why Tokuma chose Disney as a partner.

The term means that Disney can not touch the films, but that does not prevent Disney from asking Ghibli to cut or change the contents of the film, as Tokuma and Ghibli retains the editing right. In an interview, Mr. Suzuki said that Miramax faxed Ghibli, asking if they could cut several scenes from "Mononoke Hime". But nothing was cut from Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke).

In the "Kiki's Delivery Service" English dub, the opening and the ending songs were changed, and several music scores were added (to the scenes with no music in original). However, nothing was cut, and nothing was greatly changed.


"Tonari no Yamada-Kun (My Neighbors the Yamadas)" a film directed by Isao Takahata, was released in 1999. Among the investors for this movie, Tokuma Shoten invested 50%, Nippon TV invested 30%, Hakuhoudou (a Japanese advertising agency) invested 10%, and Disney invested 10% of the production cost (2.4 billion yen). In return, Disney acquired the rights to TV, theater, and video release in the US and Europe.

"Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)" was released in Japan on July 20th, 2001. Disney contributed 10% of the production costs in return for distribution rights, so there is a high likelihood of Disney (or a subsidiary) releasing it in other countries around the world. [Source]


Disney only has video and movie distribution rights, not merchandising rights of Ghibli films. That doesn't mean that Disney can not negotiate with Tokuma to expand the deal. Mr. Tokuma has stated, "Eventually, we will cooperate in such fields as magazines, CDs, and game software."

Regarding Ghibli videos and merchandise at Disney retail stores: It was decided at a higher level than those who are actually dealing with Ghibli videos that the Disney Store chain will not carry them. Apparently, the Disney Store has rules that Buena Vista Home Entertainment (which distributes Ghibli videos in the USA) cannot bend or break.

Did Miyazaki sell his soul to Disney?

Miyazaki stated that he didn't like the movies by Toho or Toei either (they are the Japanese movie companies which have been distributing the Ghibli films). He distinguishes between film production and film distribution. He also stated that he had agreed to the deal mainly to help Tokuma, which had backed him when he was starting out. He said he has earned enough money to last him a lifetime.

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