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Ghibli Park visitors under fire for taking indecent selfies with Ghibli statues, set to face punishment from the Japanese government

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.

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.

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.

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.


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