Renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki is also known for being a heavy smoker. And his recent film, Kaze Tachinu (“The Wind Rises”), is a testament to that, among others. Non-profit organization Japan Society for Tobacco Control has recently made a letter of complaint for Miyazaki’s rampant smoking scenes in the film. According to JSTC, those scenes might encourage people especially children to smoke.
The non-profit organization criticized Miyazaki not just for the numerous smoking scenes but also for the unnecessary ones. JSTC noted, “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.” A scene when a school boy “borrows a cigarette” was also pointed out. According to JSTC, “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 NPO believes that this would impose a potential problem to society.
The Japan Society for Tobacco Control also mentioned a scene in the film showing a character smoking when it was not needed for the story or emotion that was trying to be conveyed. “In particular, the depiction of a character smoking while he grasps the hand of his wife who is ill with tuberculosis, is a problem.” One can even say that the presence of the two together – someone with tuberculosis and someone smoking – is ironic. “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.”
Some fans of Miyazaki responded to the petition, posted on JSTC’s website, as only a portrayal of the Japanese society, especially of the past. Still, the advocate group warned, “We cannot ignore the effect that the various smoking scenes throughout the film will have on children.” Despite the criticism on Miyazaki, the JSTC reminded that they only question the smoking scenes in Kaze Tachinu but has nothing against Hayao Miyazaki nor Studio Ghibli. “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,” JSTC said.
[via Japan Crush]
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