Save Sayama Forest

Will you be in California in early September? Got some excess cash floating around? Want to pick up some Totoro memorabilia and help raise money for charity? Read on...

Sayama Forest is one of Japan's most remarkable urban forests, located just outside Tokyo. Taking up approximately 8,750 acres, it's said to be the forest that inspired Hayao Miyazaki in creating the setting for My Neighbour Totoro, the 1988 film that many anime fans consider to be the director's finest work.

But the forest has been increasingly under threat from urban development since the '70s, and in 1990 Miyazaki established the Totoro Forest Foundation and Trust Fund to preserve the area. Since then, the foundation has earned over three million dollars to buy parts of the forest, but rising land values and continued urban development still pose problems to the organisation.

It's now been announced that a benefit auction to raise money for the foundation will be held on 6 September, at Pixar's animation studios in Emeryville.

Up for sale is a huge selection of original pieces of art, created by internationally acclaimed artists and inspired by the world of My Neighbour Totoro, with all proceeds going to the Totoro Forest Foundation. If you can't get to the auction, there'll also be a special exhibition featuring selected pieces of art running at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco from 20 September until 7 December. And if that's no good for you either but you still want to get involved, it's possible to make a donation online.

For more information, and to find out which artists have gotten involved and check out some of the artwork that'll be going on sale, check out the event's official site .