Studio Ghibli has many characters it can use for merchandise, and while plenty of Totoros have been made, there are other, lesser-known characters that can also be inspiriting for making goods. Like the little soot sprites that you get to see in Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.
The soot sprites are called ‘susuwatari’ in the original Japanese, and new jewelry has been made using them. There are earrings for both pierced and unpierced ears, as well as a necklace, a ring, a bracelet, and hair pins. Customers in Japan can buy them at Donguri Republic shops, and they’re also online.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.