Three men who admitted to posting obscene photos taken with display characters in Japan’s Ghibli Park reportedly apologized to local officials last week.
Images of guests pretending to molest characters at the theme park in Nagakute, Aichi prefecture, began circulating on social media last month. In one photo, a male visitor can be seen taking an “upskirt” photo of Marnie, a 12-year-old character from the 2014 Studio Ghibli film “When Marnie Was There.”
It was not immediately clear how many visitors had taken such lewd photos, which have since been compared to other malicious trends. Over the last several weeks, Japan has also dealt with “sushi terrorism” pranks in which restaurant diners film themselves tampering with food or utensils.
The three male guests, who have not been identified, reportedly visited the Aichi Prefectural Government office on March 22 to apologize. An acquaintance who described the men as “remorseful” helped organize the meeting.
“They see the effect their actions are having, and they’re not sure how to set things right,” the acquaintance said, according to SoraNews24. “All three of them regret what they did, and want to apologize.”
The guests are described to be in their 20s and 30s.
All live outside the prefecture.
“We took photos that went beyond the bounds of mischievousness and made people feel uncomfortable,” the men said, according to The Mainichi. “We will make every effort to refrain from doing anything foolish in the future.”
One of the men reportedly described his own actions as “disgusting,” while the others said they were “disrespectful” and “in poor taste.”
Gov. Hideaki Omura announced the men’s apology in a March 24 press conference.
The official initially considered taking legal action against those who have engaged in such behaviors, but opted to forgive the men.
“I would like to sincerely accept their apology,” Omura said. “I would like to end this matter now.”