Just a few weeks ago, director Miyazaki Hayao had fallen out of favour with some Japanese netizens for his criticisms of the Abe administration ahead of the opening of his new film, “Kaze Tachinu”, which is set in prewar Japan.
Now, however, the Japan Society for Tobacco Control has criticised the film for its abundance of scenes featuring smoking, concerned that it may encourage children watching the film to take up smoking. Miyazaki himself is known to be a heavy smoker, and often smokes during television interviews; furthermore this is not the first incidence of smoking appearing in one of his films.
In light of these new criticisms of the film, netizens are now firmly standing with Miyazaki, arguing that the director is simply portraying the Japan of yesteryear, when smoking was a common pastime for virtually all men.
From Sponichi Annex:
Japan Society For Tobacco Control Complains Over Smoking Scenes In “Kaze Tachninu”; “Scenes Have An Influence On Children”
The NPO organisation “Japan Society for Tobacco Control” has made complaints over the depiction of cigarettes in “Kaze Tachinu” (directed by Miyazaki Hayao), which is currently on release in Japan.
The society has publicly uploaded a petition on their website that was also forwarded to those in charge of making the film, stating that the use of smoking in the film is problematic: “Scenes in which there is smoking in the classroom, scenes where a lot of employees, including management, are smoking in the workplace, scenes where people are smoking in the restaurant of a high-class hotel are too numerous to count here”.
The JSTC pointed out that “In particular, the depiction of a character smoking while he grasps the hand of his wife who is ill with tuberculosis, is a problem”, and were dubious of the scene’s purpose, saying “although the scene has the purpose of portraying the couple’s frame of mind, in particular the wife’s frame of mind, why did that scene have to involve the use of cigarettes? There ought to have been many other ways of sufficiently expressing things”.
Furthermore, the film also features a scene where a schoolboy “borrows a cigarette” from someone, and JSTC inisit that “such scenes encourage underage smoking, and there is even the fear that they run counter to the Japanese ‘Law Banning Underage Smoking’. But the fact that a lot of children — including elementary school children — are going to the cinema to see this film that is currently on release”.
The film is set in the turbulent period between the Great Kanto Earthquake and the drive to the Pacific War. The protagonist of the piece is a young man, based on the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero (the “Zero”), Horikoshi Jiro, an portrays his life in pursuit of the dream of creating a beautiful airplane.
Although one can say “this takes place in the past” and is of the period, the JSTC warns that “We cannot ignore the effect that the various smoking scenes throughout the film will have on children”.
Finally, the society adds a note of caution, explaining the spirit in which the petition was sent: “Please note that the intention of this request is not to defame your company in the slightest, and we sincerely hope that Ghibli will go on flourishing, continuing to create films that will delight film fans”. They end their letter with the following: “Please understand what we mean by this letter; we simply ask that you pay particular notice to the use of cigarettes in this film”.
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
This is the world of film…
Are they stupid?
Wow, they lash out at every little thing, huh?
To smoke or not to smoke is an individual choice — it won’t have anything to do with whether or not there was this kind of scene in a film.
Still, walking and smoking at the same time is dangerous, so I’d rather they stopped that. [NB In some parts of Tokyo, walking through the streets while smoking is forbidden.]
Regulate Pachinko then! “It has an influence on adults”.
Don’t say such unsophisticated things about a bloody film!
The remarkable decline in morals and manners is the fault of the people who watch the films, not those who make them.
Smoking is obviously bad for your health, but I haven’t seen anything like the idiocy of the this petition in a good few years.
Their heads must be empty.
It’s because you moan about stuff like this that you’re treated as a borderline organisation.
Dear idiot parents, you shouldn’t just regulate everything; your role as adults is to explain to children why something is not good, and make them understand it.
Comments from 2ch.net:
Gotta be honest, there was a hell of a lot of smoking in that film.
A pig who doesn’t smoke is just a pig.
Think about the period the film is set in — isn’t it obvious that there’d be smoking in it, fools?
These people seem like they’d try to ban any anime with fight scenes in it too.
Strange that you can’t have smoking in commercials when it’s OK in anime though.
Downright trivial. I hope aren’t any artists who’ll work with this idiots.
Miyazaki, the director, is a heavy smoker, so all it means is that he’s only capable of egocentric thoughts, that’s all.
I do agree that people shouldn’t smoke, but I don’t think they should try to distort a portrayal of what that period what actually like.
I mean, this was the period in which pretty much every man smoked, right?
They must be thick w
If smoking scenes are bad, then Lupin is out for a start.
Plus the protagonist of that anime is a thief, too w
Guess it’s within the bounds of freedom of expression.
Don’t stick your nose in where it’s not wanted.
Have a fag and calm down, Japan Society for Tobacco Regulation.