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Hayao Miyazaki Pens Essay on Japanese Constitutional Reform

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The Wind Rises director writes about leaving constitution alone in latest issue of Studio Ghibli's magazine

In the July issue of Studio Ghibli's Neppū magazine, which the company published on July 18, director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki wrote a feature about constitutional reform in Japan.

In the essay, Miyazaki discussed the Japanese government's recent push to revise the constitution, which the government enacted in 1947. Miyazaki wrote that he thinks that Japanese politicians with no understanding of history "shouldn't be messing" with the country's foundation, and added, "I am taken aback by the lack of knowledge among government and political party leaders on historical facts."

Miyazaki also wrote that he was "disgusted" by the government's proposals to replace the constitution, including Article 9. Article 9 of Japan's constitution states that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes."

Miyazaki wrote in the essay: "To take advantage of the low voter turnout and to change the constitution without giving it serious thought is unacceptable. I am clearly against it." Japan had held a vote on Sunday for the House of Councillors, and the average turnout was 52.61%, the third lowest on record. The Liberal Democratic Party, the country's ruling party under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a majority in those elections.

Miyazaki was born in 1941 and wrote in the article about his memories of World War II and its aftermath. Miyazaki wrote that he was ashamed and felt "hatred against Japan" for what the country did in China during the war, and said that Japan should apologize and pay compensation for its crimes during the war, including the use of "comfort women" (women from China and Korea who were used as prostitutes during the war). The issue of "comfort women" has been a hot topic in Japan recently after Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto made a controversial comment on the subject in May.

Miyazaki's essay has been met with some criticism, with some calling him "un-Japanese" according to the entertainment trade website Variety.

The Wind Rises, Miyazaki's most recent film, opened in Japan on July 20, and the film earned 961 million yen (about US$9.66 million) to top Japan's box office for the weekend. The film centers on Jirō Horikoshi, the designer of Japan's famed Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane of World War II.

The theme of the July issue of Neppū was constitutional reform, and other Studio Ghibli staff such as Toshio Suzuki, Reiko Nakagawa, and Isao Takahata also contributed essays to the magazine. Studio Ghibli has made four articles from the issue available digitally for free until August 20 due to high demand of the issue leading to bookstores being out of stock. The issue is only available in Japanese.

Sources: The Japan Times (Link 2), Variety

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