Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura wants Studio Ghibli Park’s operating company to stop visitors from taking lewd photos with character statues.
Last month, photos of men pretending to sexually assault female character statues in the Studio Ghibli theme park went viral on Twitter, eliciting disgust and anger from social media users.
In the photos, men can be seen groping life-size figures of Marnie, a character from the 2014 film “When Marnie Was There,” and Teru from the 2016 film “Tales From Earthsea.” A man was also photographed upskirting Marnie under her white dress.
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At a press conference on Thursday, Omura said the Ghibli Park’s operating company must immediately stop any improper behavior or indecent photographs by visitors.
Frankly speaking, posting photos like that on social media is very inappropriate. From adults to children, people go to Ghibli Park to enter the Ghibli world and enjoy themselves. Clearly this action disturbed many people. They need to firmly stop such actions once spotted and confirmed. For those who come to the park to do this kind of thing, I would much prefer them not to come at all.
Omura said the incident is “extremely malicious” and is similar to the viral “sushi terrorism” pranks perpetrated in conveyor belt sushi restaurants, where individuals purposely tamper with food or utensils and film themselves.
Omura noted that the Aichi prefectural government will take legal action if the individuals involved in taking the inappropriate photos are identified.
Ghibli Park, which is located at Aichi Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute, is inspired by the beloved films of Hayao Miyazaki and his animation studio.
It was built by the Aichi prefectural government for about 34 billion yen (approximately $255 million).
The park has welcomed visitors since its opening in November 2022. Guests are encouraged to take a stroll and experience the park’s first attractions, including the Grand Warehouse, the Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest.
The attractions boast panoramic views and feature immersive exhibits of famous scenes from the studio’s films, including “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Castle in the Sky” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.”
The Valley of Witches, inspired by the 1989 film “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” and Mononoke Village, inspired by 1997 film “Princess Mononoke,” are expected to open sometime this year.