The silence from Studio Ghibli regarding the matter has landed it in hot water.

It’s been just over four months now since the highly anticipated Ghibli Park opened its doors to the public on 1 November, and though the park has been receiving rave reviews for its environmentally friendly transport and the anime worlds that have been created in nature-filled areas, it has come under fire for what some have described as examples of hostile architecture, and now there’s another incident creating controversy with the public.

It recently became clear that a number of visitors have been posing in lewd ways with some of the park’s exhibits, namely the large figurines modelled on some of the studio’s most famous characters, located inside the Grand Warehouse.

People online have been sharing photos of these badly behaved visitors, which show a number of young men grabbing the breasts of Therru from Tales from Earthsea and taking up-skirt photos of Marnie from When Marnie Was There.

▼ The photos began appearing online on 22 February.

In the real world, acts like these are sex crimes that would result in an arrest. Compounding the problem is the fact that both these characters are estimated to be between 14 and 17 for Therru, and in the case of Marnie, 12 years of age, making them both minors as they are under 18, the legal age of adulthood in Japan.

Add in the fact that many of the visitors to Ghibli Park are families with young children, and the problem becomes one which requires some sort of response from officials. However, media outlets who sought comment from Ghibli Park about the incidents were told by the public relations office that the park will not be commenting on the matter. 

This only heightened criticism against the park, until finally, on 9 March, Hideaki Omura, the governor of Aichi Prefecture, where the park is located, held a press conference, saying:

“These displays are there so that everyone, from children to adults, can immerse themselves in the works of Studio Ghibli. It’s extremely unpleasant for photos like these to be uploaded to social media. It’s extremely regrettable and I sincerely want it to stop.”

▼ News report on the governor’s press conference.

He went on to reveal that a similar problem occurred in the past at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka, and because of these incidents, Ghibli Park has a policy of not commenting on these matters. As the park is located in Aichi Prefecture, the governor says he has asked Ghibli Park to respond strictly in the event of malicious incidents, and he also requests that visitors alert staff immediately if they see behaviour like this occurring during their visit.

He concluded by saying that people who act like this should not come to the park, and he is resolute that there will be strict repercussions for anyone acting like this in future.

Source: NHK News
Featured image: Studio Ghibli

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