Hayao Miyazaki Called ‘Anti-Japanese’, ‘Traitor’ And ‘Dim-Witted’

Hayao Miyazaki Called ‘Anti-Japanese’, ‘Traitor’ And ‘Dim-Witted’

Kaze Tachinu, the latest Studio Ghibli film, opened this weekend in Japan. It’s also stirring up plenty of controversy online. The reasons why might surprise you. They might not.

As previously mentioned, the film is fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi, who created the iconic World War II fighter plane, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

Some of the early reviews called the film “great” and said it was aimed at adults. Children, it seemed, found the film “dull”. On the movie’s Yahoo! Japan page, many commenters are viciously attacking both Kaze Tachinu and its creator, Hayao Miyazaki by calling the film “anti-Japanese” and Miyazaki “dim-witted”.

“Yep, this anime is definitely anti-Japanese,” wrote one 2ch commenter. “Probably already no good.”

“This anime is a eulogy to the Zero fighter, right?” wrote another. “Considering all that, apologise to the comfort women? I don’t get this old coot.”

Attacks like these appear to be from individuals how haven’t seen the movie. So, what’s the deal?

In a recent interview with Studio Ghibli’s own publicity pamphlet Neppu, the 72-year-old Miyazaki said, “For the comfort woman issue, because it’s a question of each nation’s pride, a proper apology should be given and suitable reparations should be paid.”

During World War II, the Japanese military created prostitution corps called “ianfu” (慰安婦), which is typically translated as “comfort women“.

Conservatives in Japan are often quick to point out that Japanese politicians, prime ministers, and the Emperor have apologized numerous times for Japanese atrocities during the war. Compensation has been awarded; however, there’s debate over whether it was a suitable amount and whether or not these apologies were fitting.

The topic of comfort women is a sensitive issue in Japan — and the rest of Asia. During the same interview (heck, right after he said this), Miyazaki talked about another sensitive issue: disputed island territories. There are island that Japan says are part of its territories, but that Korea and China say are theirs. This topic has gotten so heated that it’s lead to massive rioting in China.

In the interview, Miyazaki said, “As for the territorial problem, they should either be split in half or there should be a proposal to ‘control them jointly.'” Miyazaki added that no matter how much disagreement there is, a case regarding the disputed territory’s control should not be presented to the International Court of Justice.

“A nuclear covered country like this, it should never be allowed to wage war or whatever,” Miyazaki added elsewhere in the interview.

Online, there were those who agreed with Miyazaki. Others wondered about the timing. But online in Japan, a place that often can feel more conservative than the country itself, critics have been vocal.

“Why don’t you pay the comfort woman with the profits from your movie?” asked one Yahoo! commenter. “Wouldn’t it be good to ban the movie that this traitor created?” fired off another, among those saying that Kaze Tachinu was the work of a left-wing liberal. “That’s it! Ghibli’s finished,” one went as far as to proclaim.

“Well, there goes my desire to see this movie,” wrote one commenter. “I’m really disappointed in Miyazaki,” added another. “I want him to stop saying political things,” wrote yet another commenter. “I only wanted to see it free of any preconceptions…”

Even within all these attacks on the movie and Miyazaki, there were those who found the whole thing baffling. “Since when did Yahoo! Japan become overrun with right-wing Imperial wrath?”

The Yahoo! Japan page is turning into a pile-on and currently has over two thousand comments, with people attacking perhaps the world’s greatest living animator for saying what he thinks.

スタジオジブリ「風立ちぬ」、本日ロードショー [Yahoo! Japan] 「慰安婦問題で日本は謝罪・賠償すべき」 宮崎駿監督のインタビュー記事が物議 [J-Cast]


  • I suppose the real travesty here is that there is limited branding/marketing opportunities for animation aimed at adults. Although it is hardly going to kill Ghibli, whose movies are loved worldwide and are considered by many to be better than anything released by Disney.

  • Miyazaki is a has been

    i hate it how someone does one amazing thing, and suddenly earns the title of “greatest”
    it undermines the work of any others that might come after

    its like how people revere over Picasso and Da Vinci, but im pretty sure there are a ton of people who replicate the same quality of art in this day and age
    its not their fault they were born 300 years later

    Also, there is several articles on the net that compare Miyazaki’s stories. Each one has the exact same plot or premise with different main characters

    • Not sure if it was an accident or by design but your choice of words were “replicate”. There are numerous people who can replicate a style or piece of art. Creating new art-content is where professionals or the inspired reside. Miyazaki is one of those such people.

      Also “has-beens” are not typically personalities who get this much attention nor do they still get the respect that he gets or the adulation given. By sheer face that his last movies and this receive so much glowing press, reviews, fans and money contradicts the statement of him being a “has-been”.

      Don’t care if you insult the man(Miyazaki), just make sure it is accurate and relevant.

      • again, the fact that he sells alot of dvds doesnt make him great.

        My choice of words may have been extreme or wrong, but doesnt change the fact that he hasnt really revolutionised the genre or created amazing story lines as he has used to

        THAT IS NOT TO SAY, that his previous works are bad. Everything he is famous and revered for and all his earlier works, i acknowledge as still being great. You cant change that.

        Im just saying RECENTLY alot of his works get alot of attention simply because its “another ghibli/miyazaki film”

        Thus the use of has-been. as harsh as that sounds.

        looks like i offended alot of butthurt miyazaki fanbois

    • You obviously don’t know anything about art.

      You seem not to realise that many of the great art movements such as impressionism, cubism, abstract expressionism etc were doing things that HAD NOT BEEN DONE BEFORE, that’s why they are so revered, because it was completely original. So what if someone can paint in the cubist style now, they are just copying something that already exists.

      Nothing is created in a vacuum.

      • yes. Being first to do something creative has much more power than being the 1000th, even if they are aesthetically identical. Doing something new is difficult, copying others is very easy.

      • “Nothing is created in a vacuum.”
        That phrase contradicts the first part of your comment. Fureien was quite wrong, your rebuttal is ok but you should keep in mind that vacuum comment.
        Those were popular, fashionable movements in the art world at those times and artists like Piccasso etc were the most representative proponents, but the ideas and styles were always based on things that other artists had been working on and were already in existence in other parts of culture: “Nothing is created in a vacuum.”

        • So you’re saying things ARE created in a vacuum? Because history begs to differ.

          All art movements are reactions to the times, society at large, technology, politics, taste etc. So even if an art movement is completely different to what preceded it, it’s because it’s created in direct opposition. ie: NOT on it’s own, without outside influence. Things can have influence on other things but that doesn’t mean the influence directly relates to similarity, in many cases it amounts to rebellion.

          I don’t think it’s possible (especially not today) for ANYTHING to be created on it’s own without any outside influence whatsoever. It’s just not possible.

          • No, I was saying the opposite.
            You may not have read the whole of my comment. What you’ve said here is the same thing as I wrote pretty much 🙂

          • No i read it, but it doesn’t make sense how you can say you can say that my vacuum statement DOES contradict my argument, but then agree with how i explained how it DOESN’T contradict it… so…?

          • This:
            “doing things that HAD NOT BEEN DONE BEFORE”
            and this:
            “because it was completely original”
            That’s why. Those contradict it and they’re not actually true.

          • I’ve already explained how everything is created in reaction to something, ie NOT in a vacuum. Doing something original does not constitute that it be created without the influence of anything else, it is most often a reaction to something else. Those two quotes you pulled out still stand.

            Doing something original could be combining things previously not brought together, or taking something that already exists into a different context and developing it further such as:

            jackson pollock’s interest in indian sand paintings+eastern philosophy+development of cubist abstraction+influence of teachers = new form of abstract expressionism. Even though it may be a combination of things, what he ends up with is still new and original.

      • anyway

        semantics aside

        What i meant was that there could be people born today or tomorrow whom, had you never shown them cubism or whatever, could have independently created it for themselves

        think of it like an invention. Two people could independently invent the same device at the same or different times. It has happenned in history before

        so my point is that While i appreciate that they are great and “original” (being the first) styles, i just dislike the component where everyone just jumps on the hype wagon, because everyone else does. As typical with human nature e.g. iphones

    • The others have said it best on the point of there being no more Picassos and Da Vincis. No, it’s not fair that all the easy stuff has been invented/done, and it would be pretty awesome to be able to claim credit for the invention of using 3D perspective in art, but them’s the breaks.

      There are more people alive than have ever died. Your chances of being the greatest in something and remembered amongst that sea of indistinguishable humanity are… low. So sad. Join the hivemind and accept your utter lack of uniqueness!

      It’s a fair cop on the Ghibli recycling of tropes, though.

      • I wouldn’t say cubism is ‘easy’, sure it looks like squiggles now having seen all manner of abstraction be developed over the past 60+ years, but at the time, with no yard stick, it would have been incredibly confusing and difficult, just like it is now coming up with a brilliant original idea.

      • The greatest humans who have ever lived are still nothing in scale with the universe. However a human can still be “great” to their family and friends. Its all a relative scale.

      • “There are more people alive than have ever died.”

        Just curious – where’d you get that from?

        • Hyperbole/pop-culture reference. It’s a popular meme for talking about population growth- but not too far off either. For perspective, David Attenborough did a special noting that when he was born, the world population was 2 billion people, now it’s closer to 8. A significant number of people alive at the 2 bill mark are still alive together. Intuitively, it could work out, but someone did the math, debunked http://io9.com/5882375/are-there-really-more-people-alive-now-than-have-ever-lived

          Not too far fetched if current growth rates continue (which they can’t – earth can’t support that) by around 2150. Colonization of other star systems could see it become a reality, though.

          • Suprised I’ve never come across it before than. Very interesting tidbit, thanks!

      • my point isnt that it isnt fair
        i get that

        im simply saying. “we get it already” Miyazaki is great. But time to give some attention to some other starving artists because miyazaki’s recent works havent been as amazing as that used to be.

        its like a Ford Mustang mustve been pretty badass back in the day, and alot of fanbois adore them not because it is a great car anymore, but simply because….they are fanboys.

        But so many new models have been out that runs circles around it

        It defies logic, and thats the point i am annoyed at

    • To put this in the proper context: Two men climb to the summit Mt. Everest supported by a team of hundreds. Their names were Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

      These are household names, and yet the hundreds of others that supported them and the others that followed in the wake of their ascent don’t receive the same recognition. Why? They’re pioneers and leaders. They did it first and everyone after them followed by their example.

      Da Vinci, Picasso and, indeed, Miyazaki were pioneers in their craft. They each spawned an entirely unparalleled genre of artform along with all of the techniques and knowledge that followed. People break new ground still, but not if they’re painting ‘better’ Picasso’s or animating ‘better’ Miyazaki’s.

      Whether you like it or not, these people deserve the recognition and praise, even if you don’t like their later work or you prefer the work of those following in their example. The work of those after isn’t necessarily wholly derivative, but it should not be undermined by the recognition of pioneers. We still all stand on the shoulders of giants. And, after all, Mt. Everest is still a bitch of a climb.

      • Nope your not getting my point

        im not negating his earlier work. I still give recognition for his earlier work and i dont believe they should ever be undermined.

        But if other artists are ever to have a chance, we need to hop off the celebrity bandwagon once in while and pull the wool away from our eyes.

        Example. Alot of people revere de niro and pacino as actors
        in their prime they were great

        even to this day, they are still great

        however, their recent flicks have been mediocre. While it may not have been entirely their fault (for the sake of this analogy, ignore this) the point is that alot of hype is still drawn towards them because of their reputation. Even if they dont deliver, they still may get praise

        My point with Miyazaki is that there is noticeable positive bias towards him. So i am not surprised he gets huge negative feedback sometimes

        I am of the mentality. Respect your elders, remember your pioneers, but look forward to the future.

        I would rather watch a castle in the sky reinterpretation, in a different style and by a different artist than another miyazaki clone of his own works is all

  • Would this be in response to Abe and his nationalism, or to wide spread acceptance? I don’t get the resistance. War is dumb, especially modern war. I feel like of everywhere, Japan would know that best.

  • ‘…and suitable reparations should be paid….’

    The problem is that just makes it look like you got around to paying the women you forced into sex money due a prostitute. They are not prostitutes so no amount of money can compensate what was done to them.

    • By the same token, it’s also the only language some people understand. Spend millions on education/rehabilitation/housing/employment discrimination/other legal reforms to address any issues being experienced, and you can bet you’ll get someone (most likely an unaffected relative/descendant) asking for payout.

      There IS no winning. You only need to look at America and the issues of slavery. Forget something that happened fifty years ago, we’re talking hundreds of years.

      Nothing will ever be good enough.

      • I was about to say something like this, but this was said much better. We experience a similar situation in Australia with the indigenous population experiencing horrific issues because of what was done to their ancestors. Will money solve that? Will an apology from the government?

        They’re problems that exist in society today that need solving, regardless of the originators of the problem. Enough persistent years of community support and funded social initiatives accompanied by a willingness to change of those affected is the only way out of that. The bullshit nationalist pissing contest (excuse my language) will only get in the way.

  • It would definitely suck for a nation not to be able to celebrate its military heroes – brothers, fathers, sons. Loved ones who bravely fought and died for the ideal of safeguarding their families and country… Celebrate that spirit, that noble self-sacrifice, and all of a sudden as far as everyone else is concerned, you’re accused of celebrating the aggression of the politicians who instigated the conflicts, and the deaths of the other side. (Which is beyond absurd, when you read a checklist of what the US has been up to whilst remaining some of the biggest chest-thumpers in the world.)

    Being on the losing side of a war must be bad enough, without inflicting cultural cringe and generational guilt on the surviving populace.

    • What are you talking about Japan have been celebration their fallen including their war criminals every year. That’s exactly what’s causing tension across the straits.

      • That’s what I’m saying sucks.
        Maybe I should have said, ‘be able to… without censure.’

  • Miyazaki’s work has always been on the left of the spectrum, with strong environmental and social themes. Rather than the people complaining having not seen the film, it seems like they haven’t seen any of Miyazaki’s films.

  • The problem is unlike Germany who had a simillar program called joy division the Japanese don’t get a free pass by blaming it on the “Nazi’s”.
    Even the USA in the occupation of Japan after the war had US ran military brothels for servicemen, mainly to stop high incidets of rape by US servicemen.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!