By far the most viral article of the week so far was an article written by the manga artist Sakamoto Mimei on her experiences on-board a plane with a crying baby. The original article from ‘Voice’ magazine was posted online in the magazines section of Yahoo!News, and quickly drew a broad range of criticisms from netizens who have re-tweeted the article over twenty-thousand times, and given it twenty-three thousand ‘likes’ on Facebook.
The article translated below describes how Sakamoto caused such an online ruckus, and netizen opinions on Sakamoto’s behaviour are also included.
The Controversy Over Sakamoto Mimei’s ‘On-board Manners’: Loses Her Temper Over A Crying Child and Makes a Complaint
In an article on ‘The Spirit of a Regenerated JAL‘ that was published in the magazine ‘Voice’, manga artist Sakamoto Mimei, who also often appears as a commentator on television programmes, has stirred up an online controversy.
The article discusses something that happened to Sakamoto when she was on an internal JAL flight this summer. According to the article, she was unable to stand the screaming and crying of a one-year old baby who was also on the flight, and ‘flipped out’, saying ‘I’ve had it, I’m getting off, I’m jumping off this plane!’ Despite the fact that the plane was preparing to land, she stood up and started running toward the exit. Then, she said to the mother of the child, ‘Look, if it’s your first flight as a mother then it can’t be helped, but you shouldn’t take your child on a plane until it’s a bit older. Just because it’s a baby doesn’t mean that it can do anything!’
Then, even after the plane landed it seemed that Sakamoto was still not satisfied with what had happened, and along with placing a complaint about how JAL had handled the situation, she also apparently requested an interview with the public relations department, who she thought ought to know more about aviation law and the state of planes. Sakamoto was shown around, seeing things like a plane undergoing repairs and so on, while checking with the spokesperson from the PR department why this kind of thing had happened during the flight. In the article, Sakamoto described the information she had picked up during the interview, such as the fact that under the legal regulations, airlines couldn’t install sound-proof rooms to isolate screaming babies, and that JAL distributes brochures about manners for passengers. She also noted that, ‘There ought to be some scope for debating passenger manners and on-board facilities,’ and that, ‘Aviation law and on-board regulations, and even the facilities inside the plane are not just things that should be left the way they were when they were made ten years ago, they should be something we can revise’.
What Sakamoto wanted to convey most of all through the article was probably this ‘scope for debate’. ‘It’s awful isn’t it? Everyone’s going to think that I’m a “miserable old woman”. But this is really what I think’, and we can also read that her’s were actions intended to rouse debate by raising questions, even if her thoughts were complicated.
However, in spite of Sakamoto’s intentions, there are a lot of harsh comments about Sakamoto’s behaviour being uploaded online. Aside from seeing a lot of critical opinions such as, ‘She’s not just an old woman, she’s a “meddling old woman”‘, ‘This is terrible. She’s trying to make it into JAL’s problem, but the point is the writer’s whingeing.’ ‘Wow…though she’s so mean that she won’t allow a baby to cry, I’m surprised that didn’t even show any concern for a mother who had a baby in her arms, but I just don’t understand what she means by “Don’t ask about my complaint being selfish” and “Let’s reform aviation law”‘, even the neuroscientist Ken Mogi was candid about her behaviour, saying, ‘Ms. Sakamoto, there’s no such problem. This is messed up’, ‘I can’t believe there are adults around who think they can control the behaviour of a one-year old child.’ The lawyer Ochiai Youji commented, ‘I understand how she feels, but a crying baby can’t be helped. So much so that in the old days there was the saying “you can’t fight a crying child or a violent lord”‘.
Comments from 2ch.net:
That woman is more trouble than the baby
What a twat w
Crazy old bat w
Something’s wrong with her, she should get herself to a hospital.
Just wear earplugs w
And this woman’s a manga artist?
Does she have some psychological issues?
They should establish laws so that this kind of crazy can’t travel by plane.
Air China give you earplugs
So basically, Sakamoto’s brains are the same as a child’s?
So you can judge a book by its cover.
She’s just a crazy old hag isn’t she? Have you never bothered others when your baby cried, Sakamoto? So small minded, people are so small minded.
Of course babies are going to cry. For a fully-grown adult to get angry and kick up a fuss about it puts the adult below the child.
Comments from Twitter:
Who the hell is she! I hope they never let this stupid woman on a flight again. Let’s drive her out of society! This stupid woman doesn’t have the qualifications necessary to go on living!!
There really are a lot of frightening people around.
How about this?…(-“-)? It’s not that I don’t understand how frustrating it was, but she’s going too far complaining to JAL about a ‘monster parent’.
In a sense ‘crying’ is a child’s ‘job’ isn’t it～ ?
It’s reasonable for a baby to cry. This kind of idiot is making the world a worse place to live. Don’t misunderstand things, you third rate bastard…
I’m really waiting in earnest for Wada Akiko to give her ‘honourable opinions’ on this one.
Even if there is ‘scope for debate’, she shouldn’t make the mother feel bad.
If she’s going to be like this, the woman shouldn’t get on the shinkansen or planes(^_^;)
I suppose she can say that because she’s never brought up a child.