Kaze Tachinu Called A ‘Right-Wing Japanese Movie’ In South Korea

Kaze Tachinu Called A ‘Right-Wing Japanese Movie’ In South Korea

Never mind that Studio Ghibli’s newest anime Kaze Tachinu was dubbed “too liberal” by some in Japan and its creator Hayao Miyazaki was called a “traitor”. In South Korea, the movie is also being criticised, but for the opposite reasons. Hayao Miyazaki really can’t win, can he?

Online in Japan, the movie was blasted and Miyazaki for mocked for his conciliatory comments regarding Japan’s war crimes against Korea. The film, however, has turned out to be a smash hit in Japan, so maybe Miyzaki has won? Well, at home at least.

In neighbouring South Korea, the movie, however, is being called “right wing”.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: Kaze Tachinu follows the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who created the iconic World War II fighter plane, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. That plane wrecked havoc all throughout Asia, destroying villages and killing people. That being said, Miyazaki doesn’t exactly seem to be the chest thumping, war mongering Japanese imperialist? He’s anything but.

The anger over the war, however, runs deep, and J-Cast reports that online in South Korea, the movie is being attacked. Some are apparently saying the movie glorifies Japanese imperialism. The plane itself is seen as problematic: Besides those it killed, there’s anger saying that Mitsubishi used forced Korean and Chinese labour to manufacture it.

“Depicting oneself as the victim and portraying the calamity of war, but failing to point out the cause: Japan’s typical masturbatory cinema,” wrote one Korean net user, according to J-Cast. Another commenter said if there’s a movie about Jiro Horikoshi, then why not premiere an anime about Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb?

Keep in mind that the movie is set before the plane goes into battle. Also, it’s not out in South Korea yet.

Then, there were the calls in South Korea to have the movie banned when it is released. Currently, the movie is slated for a September opening in South Korea. Perhaps attitudes will change if more people see the film and give it a chance. Then again, maybe they don’t want to.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Kotaku‘s review of the film.

ジブリ「風立ちぬ」韓国公開が危機 ゼロ戦題材に「右翼映画」批判止まず [J-Cast]


  • He’s made an anti-war film with what was the scourge of the Asia-Pacific skies until the allies came up with the hell-cat. I’m not surprised people are reacting badly. Most of the critics will probably never see it anyway, but deride it as a pro-imperialist Japanese film. That whole region is still mega butt-hurt at Japan and will be for many many years to come.

  • ” if there’s a movie about Jiro Horikoshi, then why not premiere an anime about Robert Oppenheimer…” I’d love to see that?

  • I have a suspicion that many of Miyazaki’s critics on both sides haven’t even seen the film.
    But let’s be reasonable here – are there nationalist right-wing jerks in Japan? Yes. They do not make up the majority of Japan. Are there incredibly sensitive, nationalist Koreans who hate Japan despite most of them being born well after WWII? Yes, but they don’t make up the majority of Koreans.

    I know plenty of Japanese and Korean folks who get along just fine. Yes, South Korea is sensitive about Japan (given that they were brutally colonized for decades, that’s understandable), but I know many South Koreans who are fond of Japanese culture.

    And Miyazaki isn’t a “war monger”, as the article points out. Ever seen Grave of the Fireflies? That film focused on suffering, but it also took a shot at the Generals of Japan who pointlessly prolonged the suffering of the Japanese people for no other reason than stubborn, stubborn pride. I’ve never seen anything in Miyazaki’s films that promote war or Japanese Imperialism. But the South Korean nationalists only need to hear the words “Japan” “Zero” and “Film about those things” and they will get angry automatically. I mean, the South Korean nationalists even complained about a non-Japanese made WWII naval simulator game using the Japanese War Flag for the side of Japan. They demanded that the programmers remove the flag. Now that’s a little nuts, because, historically, that’s the flag that was used.

    I understand South Korean feelings. My grandmother had to flee China when the Japanese invaded, leaving behind everything she had. I’ve read some of the stuff the Japanese did to the Chinese, the Koreans, the Philippians, The Indonesians, The Malaysians, The Vietnamese, The Burmese and the Indians that fell into the Japanese military’s hands. Grim, grim, GRIM stuff. When you read about what the Japanese army did…. it’s not pleasant. So I understand why some South Koreans feel the way that they do.

    Having said that – it is time to move on. I know that those who suffered at the hands of the Japanese army can’t move on, and I don’t expect them to. What I do expect is for people born 30, 40 or 50 YEARS after WWII, to kindly, try to move on. Yes, Japan needs to do more to acknowledge its very troubled past. Yes, some Japanese politicians on the Right-wing say some horrible, nasty, racist things. Yes, Koreans in Japan are still being discriminated against. But if you hold onto hatred, things will never get better. Knee-jerk hatred of Japan isn’t going to help you, it’s not going to help Korean-Japan relations and it’s also hypocritical. You can’t really complain about Japanese racism, if you engage in racism against them, now can you?

    • Grave of the Fireflies was directed by one of Ghibli’s other stable directors, Isao Takahaka. But you’re right, and I pointed out in the last article on this topic, Miyazaki has always had a left-wing inclination that shows through in his movies, usually as strong themes of environmentalism and social responsibility.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!