Tokyo Head: Tsunami is 'Divine Punishment'—Haruhi's Yamakan Responds (Update 2)
posted on by Egan Loo
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said the following about the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin) and tsunami to the press in the metropolis on Monday:
The identity of the Japanese people is selfishness. The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami as means of washing away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment.
Ishihara was contrasting the "selfishness and greed" that he perceived in Japan with the identity of the United States with "liberty" and the identity of France with "liberty, philanthropy, and equality [sic]."
Yutaka Yamamoto ("Yamakan"), a director of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, Kannagi, and Fractale, posted the following response to his Twitter account hours later:
To apply "divine punishment" indiscriminately to innocent people is absolutely ridiculous. Ishihara, you who can't speak Japanese properly, have no right to place that identity on others.
Ishihara has a history of saying controversial comments, including his complaint that "we've got homosexuals casually appearing even on television." Ishihara made that comment during the debate over the recently passed amendment to Tokyo's Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. The amendment is expanding the number of manga and anime that fall under "harmful publications," the legal category of works that must not be sold or rented to people under the age of 18.
Ishihara is a major advocate of the amended Healthy Development Ordinance and the head of the executive committee for the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF). As a result, many exhibitors are boycotting TAF and planning a new event called Anime Contents Expo (ACE). Ishihara is running for his fourth term as governor next month.
Update: Yamamoto was the series production director and an episode director for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but not the full series director (Tatsuya Ishihara, no relation to Shintaro Ishihara). Thanks, Greg Elliott.
Update 2: Ishihara apologized on Tuesday: "I will take back (the remark) and offer a deep apology." Source: The Japan Times
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history