Anyone who loves Studio Ghibli hopes to one day get the chance to visit Ghibli Park in Japan. The park boasts faithful recreations of iconic set pieces from Ghibli films, and is bursting with charm and enchantment. One of the things you can do there is pose with some of your favorite characters in photo-op style sets. Unfortunately, some patrons have begun a frustrating trend of harassing the life-size mannequins of the characters with pretty disgusting behavior. Enough so the Japanese government issued a statement on it.
Male attendees have been taking upskirt photos of Marnie’s mannequin from “When Marnie Was There,” groping the chest of Therru from “Tales of Earthsea,” and other behaviors that are incredibly creepy. Particularly when aimed at underage characters. Regardless of the fact these are statues, the implications are just gross.
Governor of Aichi prefecture, Hideaki Omura, held a press conference regarding the recent rash of behaviors.
“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.” Omura said. He continued by saying that there would be serious repercussions for the persons responsible if they’re caught, and that he would ask the operating company behind Ghibli Park to take steps addressing it as well. While many applaud Omura for his prompt action and outrage, what’s more worrying is Studio Ghibli’s response. Which is no response at all. Almost worse? Neither has the park.
For a studio that’s brought enchanting stories to viewers internationally, it’s disappointing and not a little concerning — to say the least — that the studio responsible for iconic films doesn’t seem to care. You would expect at least a prompt response of banning patrons who visit such lewd actions upon the female statues. The fact that there’s radio silence is extremely troubling. Does the park refuse to comment because they worry it might cause lower attendance for the park? Or do they see these actions as harmless? In a situation like this, a complete lack of response is the more damning than anything else.