Studio Ghibli Theme Park Controversy Prompts Government Reply

Studio Ghibli is one of the most beloved names in anime, but this month, the company has found itself in hot water. While its animation team continues work on Hayao Miyazaki's next film, Studio Ghibli's theme park division has sparked controversy in Japan. The situation began when lewd photos of guests assaulting mannequins of underage characters came to light. And now, the ordeal has grown large enough to prompt a reply from elected officials.

The situation earned a response recently when the governor of Aichi prefecture held a press conference regarding Ghibli Park. Hideaki Omura said the surfaced photos and controversy were "extremely regrettable."

"Ghibli Park is a place for adults and children to have fun while experiencing Ghibli films. I don't want people who do things that many find offensive to come to the park," he shared. The governor went on to say he would said the operating company behind Studio Ghibli's theme park to address this behavior, and severe measures will be taken if the person who took the lewd photos is identified.

Of course, this response by Omura was met with applause, but it does not get to the crux of the issue. Yes, the photos taken at Ghibli Park are incredibly unsettling and worthy of rebuke. However, the controversy we see today came after Studio Ghibli refrained from commenting on the issue entirely. The anime studio was called into question after a now-viral tweet noted the company's "no comment" response. The lack of comment rose eyebrows globally, and the Aichi governor's official response has only made the silence worse.

For those not aware of the situation, Ghibli Park was first covered in headlines overseas when Mainichi Shimbun covered a series of lewd photos posted by guests. These pictures showed several different men posting with life-sized mannequins of underage Studio Ghibli heroines, and the characters are being sexually assaulted. From upskirt photos to groping, these pictures crossed a line with the public as many asked Ghibli Park to ban such behavior moving forward. But so far, the only comment we've been given is "no comment" from the theme park.

What do you make of this whole Ghibli Park ordeal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.