Trigger warning: This article mentions sexual harassment, and contains photos that some may find disturbing and traumatizing.
Taking wacky and unique photos with life-size displays in an amusement park is normal, but you know what’s not normal? Taking lewd photos, because that is sexual harassment and is not, and will never be, an acceptable form of joke. But unfortunately, some people still don’t seem to understand that.
Recently, a group of men had gone viral on Twitter after posting indecent images of them where they pretend to sexually assault statues displayed in Ghibli Park.
In a stream of now-deleted photos, the visitors were seen upskirting and groping Marnie from the film When Marnie Was There, while another pretended to grab and fondle the breasts of Teru, a character from Tales From Earthsea.
— インフルエンサー紹介BOT (@modelkidori) February 22, 2023
— インフルエンサー紹介BOT (@modelkidori) February 23, 2023
The photographs first circulated on Twitter in late February after the male visitors shared and later on removed them from the micro-blogging platform. Since then, it has drawn backlash from Twitter users, slamming the men for their inappropriate actions.
People (read: men) are posting pics of themselves groping and snapping up skirts of the character statues in Ghibli Park. The park’s response: “No comment.” (OP responds, “say something – don’t let this slide.”) https://t.co/XhubFMIGqQ
— Unseen Japan (@UnseenJapanSite) March 9, 2023
WTF is wrong with these grown men who go to Ghibli Park and take photos of themselves sexually harassing the figurines?? https://t.co/XXYnlT7i3l
— Spoon & Tamago (@Johnny_suputama) March 7, 2023
This is Japan:
At the newly opened Ghibli Park, men are taking inappropriate photos with the female character’s figurines. When asked for comments, the Ghibli Park stated that they will not be making any comments, nor be addressing this issue to the customers.
— あんな anna (@annaPHd9pj) March 9, 2023
For me, those gross images from Ghibli Park reflect the cute femme experience.
We are also treated like statues or dolls to mistreat in public spaces.
People try to grab us and take photos up our skirts.
We are also told it's just guys "messing around".
— Megan Catherine Rose, PhD 🐨💖 She/her (@megan_c_rose) March 10, 2023
No way! I heard some crazy men did an obscene acts to life size figure dolls of Ghibli's character at Ghibli Park. Too terrible! 🤮🤮🤮
— Yuika (@Yuika_Shimizu) March 9, 2023
ugh i can’t believe men would take pictures like that at ghibli park 🤢
— tabithatbh is flip flapping ✨ (@CoconasBitch) March 9, 2023
This is absolutely disgusting.. Men just ruin everything 🤢 Even statues ain't safe 😭
And people saying it's not an issue bc they are statues, you clearly miss the point about their actions
And also don't forget that a lot of kids are Ghibli consumers and go to that park!! https://t.co/KvCTiFaRAA
— Luna 🌙🌊 (@seleneseas23) March 9, 2023
The photos even reached the ears of Aichi Governor Hideaki Ōmura who also expressed his horror at the behavior of Ghibli Park’s visitors.
According to a report by Mainichi Shimbun, the Aichi prefecture’s governor addressed the matter in a press conference on March 9, where he announced that they will talk to Ghibli Park’s operating company and ask to denounce visitors who take lewd and inappropriate photos.
“We will take firm action because [the Ghibli Park] is located within the prefectural park,” Ōmura spoke to the Japanese media outlets.
“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 continued.
Ōmura also compared the incident to the recent unhygienic prank called “sushi terrorism” made by mostly teenagers at sushi conveyor belt restaurants in Japan. The said prank, which went viral in early February, involved customers putting saliva on a plate of sushi passing in a conveyor belt, and licking the rim of a teacup and a soy sauce bottle before returning it to its shelf. The prank caused some Japanese restaurants to halt the operation of their conveyor belts.
“It is extremely malicious, just like the inappropriate behavior at conveyor belt sushi restaurants,” said the governor.
Ōmura also gave a warning to the perpetrators, saying that once identified, they “will have no choice but to take severe measures” and will take legal action against them.
“Of course, we need to take harsher measures against this kind of behavior. This is basically the destruction of property. It’s just like what people were doing at conveyor belt sushi restaurants,” Ōmura stated.
On the other hand, Ghibli Park told Mainichi Shimbun that they would not comment on the incident. This, of course, garnered strong criticism from the people for refusing to address the inappropriate behavior displayed by its visitors.
How could Ghibli Park make no comment on such disgusting acts? What are they more afraid than people damaging their brands and potentially traumatizing children? https://t.co/HTI2WSQeV0
— mochi_en (@mochico2022) March 9, 2023
Visitors to #GhibliPark fondled female characters’ breasts & took photos under their skirt. What does the management have to say to this "indecent photos"? Nothing.https://t.co/IB5aL8y7sN
"We have NO COMMENT on this matter.”
Please. Don’t let THIS👇slide.https://t.co/NtjMPWnBOv pic.twitter.com/zMTdVprGd1
— 💫T.Katsumi🏳️🌈📢 (@tkatsumi06j) March 9, 2023
I'd also like to add, like many of you have pointed out, that these characters themselves are minors. The fact that Ghibli decided to make no comment towards their minor-aged characters being sexualized is beyond upsetting. I hope they see their mistake and decide to take action.
— あんな anna (@annaPHd9pj) March 9, 2023
Bad enough people would publicly do this at the recently opened Ghibli park.
Worse is how Ghibli’s PR handled it.
Please Ghibli, defend your brand and your beloved characters. https://t.co/w68PnsE4oU
— Yuzu (@d18coffee) March 9, 2023
Say No to sexual assault of minors.
I’m talking about those abominable pictures taken at Ghibli park.
Sexual assault is not a joke.
Why don’t they give the official comment yet?
To keep silence knowing the issue is to condone it.
— Sleepingintheforest (@hiddenforest11) March 9, 2023
Ghibli Park was located within Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park in Nagakute, Aichi, Japan. The park was first announced in 2017 with its construction beginning in 2020. It eventually opened its doors to the public in November 2022. It is the first theme park to open that featured attractions based on some famous Studio Ghibli films.
Currently, the park only opened three out of five attractions: the Grand Warehouse from Spirited Away, Youth Hill from Howl’s Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart, and Dondoko Forest from My Neighbor Totoro. The Mononoke Village from Princess Mononoke is set to open later this year, while the Valley of Witches from Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle will be delayed to March 2024.
Other POP! stories that you might like:
Japanese man completes marathon wearing traditional wooden sandals
New Demon Slayer movie receives backlash after fans claim it’s merely a recap of previous arc
Legendary creator of iconic sci-fi mangas, Leiji Matsumoto, dies at 85
Wotakoi creator Fujita set to release new manga about ‘gender dysphoria’ this year
Makoto Shinkai’s ‘Suzume No Tajimari’ anime film set to premiere in Philippine cinemas