The Japanese movie-going public has expressed their general distaste for a film that was released on Saturday in Japan that showed Tatsuya Ichihashi, the murderer of British teacher Lindsay Hawker, and his efforts to run and hide from authorities after the murder he committed in March 2007. The film was produced by Sedic International and based on the book that Ichihashi himself wrote while he was awaiting trial, “I am Ichihashi: Journal of a Murderer”, where he largely glossed over the rape and murder of the 22-year-old woman.
The film focused on how the criminal had evaded the police, endured hardships while on the run, hid on a remote desert island and earned money on construction sites to pay for plastic surgery. The film also showed Ichihashi, played by the actor Dean Fujioka, performing surgery on himself with a razor blade and a pair of scissors in an effort to conceal his identity. Postings on online chat rooms and message boards – where Japanese netizens usually vent their social fury – show that this film did not sit well with the general public, as it intended to portray Ichihashi as somewhat heroic. “I think it’s really strange that people have made a film in which the hero is a murderer,” one commentator on 2Chan, one of Japan’s most popular message boards. “I think the company that made this must be mad.” Another poster said, “The company that made this film needed to get the agreement of Lindsay’s family before starting. It is inevitable that foreigners are now going to think of Japan as a place where we make murderers into heroes.”
Hawker’s family declined to comment on the release of the film, but expressed their anger in a statement when the movie project was first announced, in November 2011. Sedic International had officially gone on record saying that they did not contact the Hawker family before or during the filming of the movie, but they have stated that the film does not attempt to defend Ichihashi or play down his crime. A spokesman for the company also told The Japan Times that “the privacy of the victim was taken into consideration and no scenes from the film focus on the victim or depict Hawker in any disrespectful way.”
[via The Telegraph]