Studio Ghibli co-founder accused of spending company funds on Thai girlfriend

Photo via Thai Studio Ghibli Facebook

Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is caught up in a scandal after being accused of spending the Japanese animation studio’s money on his Thai girlfriend “Kanyada,” who he has been seeing since 2013.

The current president of the company, Koji Hoshino, said he is retiring from the company at the end of June due to Suzuki’s misappropriation of company funds directed toward his Thai lover. Hoshino said the company has been “neglecting a problem for many years. It is producer Toshio Suzuki.”

In 2013, former studio president Suzuki fell in love with Kanyada “May” Pratan and spent his own money helping her to open a spa as well as a restaurant in Bangkok which later closed down.

In 2018, Studio Ghibli opened a restaurant in Bangkok. Suzuki appointed Kanyada as the manager and hired her as the official photographer for an upcoming photobook, despite her having no prior experience in photography.

According to an investigation by Shukan Josei magazine, all of Kanyada’s travel and living expenses were paid for by Studio Ghibli under the guise of working with Suzuki. Some Studio Ghibli employees reported having to carry out chores for Kanyada under Suzuki’s orders.

Suzuki removed Hoshino from his position as president, allegedly after Hoshino brought up Suzuki’s alleged inappropriate spending of company funds, leading to Hoshino’s eventual resignation from Studio Ghibli. Allegedly, Suzuki said he “doesn’t care” about Hoshino’s exit from the company.

Co-founder Suzuki has not publicly commented on the scandal or President Hoshino’s resignation.

Last month, Ghibli Park – a Studio Ghibli theme park which recently opened in Japan – banned visitors from taking inappropriate photos with statues of characters from beloved animated films after men groped the statues and posted the photos on Twitter.

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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