Steve Alpert (スティーブ・アルパート , Sutību Arupāto, born on April 19, 1950, as Stephen M. Alpert). He is known for his work on Princess Mononoke (1997), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and The Wind Rises (2013).
speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently. Having lived in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Taipei for a combined third-five years. For fifteen years beginning in 1996, he was senior executive of international sales at Studio Ghibli.
In 2015, he released his memoirs in Japan entitled, I'm Gaijin. --The Man Who Sold Ghibli To The World (吾輩はガイジンである。――ジブリを世界に売った男(日本語) 単行本), published by Iwanami Shoten. He released an English-edition, Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli published by Stone Bridge Press in June 16, 2020. To promote his book, he conducted an AMA on Reddit.
Born in Connecticut, United States in 1950. Steve Alpert studied in the Graduate School of Oriental Studies at Columbia University under Donald Keene and Edward Seidensticker in 1979. While at college, he developed an appreciation of Japanese culture after watching Akira Kurosawa and many of Yasujiro Ozu's films. He obtained an MBA and from Columbia's Graduate School of Business in 1981. In that same year, he worked for an American consulting firm. In his Reddit AMA, he's stated he's always expressed interest in becoming a translator.
In 1986, Alpert worked in Tokyo as a vice president at Citibank Japan Private Banking Division, then in 1991, he was CFO of The Walt Disney Company Japan. In 1996, In 1996, he moved to Tokuma International after being involved in the partnership between Disney and Tokuma Shoten. Since then, he has been in charge of overseeing international sales business for Studio Ghibli, and worked closely with Toshio Suzuki and Shinsuke Nonaka. Since 2000, he has been the director of Studio Ghibli's Overseas Business Division. He has traveled with, accepted awards on behalf of, and worked closely with Hayao Miyazaki for about fifteen years. When asked about his most memorable experiences working at Ghibli, he describe them as follows:
"Visiting Ursula Le Guin to get permission to make Gedo Senki; doing a Q and A at Berkeley when Miyazaki's neice showed up as the date of a Pixar animator. She had been the model for Satsuki in Totoro and she was going to leave before talking to him because he was surrounded by fans with questions. I made her stay and brought her through the siege of fans surrounding him. He was so happy to see her. He hadn't seen her in years; visiting John Lasseter at Pixar with Miyazaki unannounced - John loves surprises and he treated us to the story of how he and Miyazaki first met; visiting Diana Wynn Jones in Bristol to screen Howl's Moving Castle for her; and others."
"So "vetoed" the score doesn't mean he didn't like it. When we proposed to Miyazaki that Disney let Hisaishi Joe re-do the score everyone expected Miyazaki to just say no. What he said was that Hisaishi-san had always wanted more music in the score and that at the time he had said no, but he was curious what Joe would do if given free reign (almost free reign). Disney was paying for it.
We recorded the new music for the soundtrack in Seattle and brought it back for Miyazaki to hear. He listened to it and said "Naruhodo. Omoshiroi. Jya, dame desu ne." By that he didn't mean that the score was "dame" (not good). He meant that it wasn't approved for the about to be released English version of the film. His reason as he later explained was that any film is a product of the time in which it was created and carries with it a hint of the atmosphere of the time, including what would have been technologically possible or economically viable. He thought it would be wrong to change the ambiance of the original film by adding enhanced music. In other words, Hisaishi's new version was just another possible take on the music. Miyazaki was curious to hear what that take would be.
There is no question that he said no to including it in the version we were about to release. But he never said he didn't like the music. I genuinely have a deep respect for Hisaishi Joe and his immense talent. I am 100% sure about my claim which must be verifiable by looking at whatever version of the film that was released at the time. I can't remember if Hisaishi was actually present when we played the music for Miyazaki to get his permission. But probably Mikiko Takeda was, and Nonaka-san at Ghibli might or probably would remember if you want to fact-check me."
He also recalls a memorable experience between fans and their reactionn to Studio Ghibli's films:
"I can't remember if it was in the book or not, but when we screened Spirited Away in Japan, every single time when the lights came up in the theater at the end of the movie almost the entire audience was in tears. Every time."
He speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently, having lived in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Taipei for a combined total of over 35 years. He has translated more than a dozen Japanese films and several short works of Japanese fiction. He has been married to Cynthia Wang since July 22, 1979.