Ghibli Park bars men from takes sexy pics with statues

PHOTO: Ghibli Park faces controversy as photos surface of men taking sexually aggressive photos with statues. (via Twitter)

It’s ok to love statues, but it’s not ok to LOVE statues. Visitors to Japan’s Ghibli Park will be prohibited from taking inappropriate photos with statues of characters from beloved animated films. The restriction comes after photos of men pretending to sexually assault young female characters were posted on Twitter last month.

The photographs in question depicted a visitor capturing upskirt images of Marnie, the protagonist of the 2014 movie “When Marnie Was There,” as well as another person groping the breasts of Teru, the main character of the 2006 film “Tales From Earthsea.”

A Ghibli Park spokesman declined to comment on the issue, but Aichi prefecture Governor Hideaki Omura expressed regret over the photos at a press conference on Thursday. He said he plans to ask the operators of Ghibli Park to take immediate action against any improper behaviour by visitors.

“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. It is extremely regrettable. We will take firm action because it (Ghibli Park) is located within the prefectural park. It is extremely malicious, just like the inappropriate behaviour at conveyor belt sushi restaurants.”

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The reference the governor made was to another controversy on social media involving people sabotaging sushi in conveyor belt restaurants in Japan, an act that has been dubbed “sushi terrorism.”

Ghibli Park, located in Nagakute and built by the Aichi prefectural government at a cost of about 34 billion yen (about 8.75 billion baht), opened in November 2022. It is publicly owned but privately operated by a Tokyo-based company jointly owned by Studio Ghibli and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper.

If the person who took the inappropriate photos at the theme park is identified, the prefecture vowed to take severe legal action.

Since the photos came to light in late February, people on social media have denounced the men’s oafish and childish behaviour. But they have also expressed anger at Ghibli Park’s silence on the controversy. Commenters have called for the park to take action and not be indifferent to the offence.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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