Ghibli Park theme park must prevent visitors from taking lewd selfies with statues, Japanese authorities say

(CNN) Japanese authorities have pledged to take action following reports that visitors to a theme park featuring scenes from beloved animated films took indecent photos of themselves with statues characters.

In February, photos were posted on social media showing men “pretending to sexually assault young female characters” in Ghibli Park, Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported.

Artwork from the movie “Spirited Away” can be found at Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse in Park Ghibli.

Park Ghibli is a theme park dedicated to the work of famed animation company Studio Ghibli, such as the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro.” It is located in Aichi Prefecture, less than an hour from Kyoto by train.

“Frankly, posting such photos on social media is very inappropriate. From adults to children, people go to Ghibli Park to enter the Ghibli world and have fun,” said Hideaki Ōmura, governor of Aichi Prefecture. , during a press conference on Thursday.

“Obviously this action has disturbed many people,” he said, adding that his team had told park management that “they must firmly stop such actions once spotted and confirmed.”

The “Dondoko Forest” area features a Totoro-themed exhibit.

“For those who come to the park to do this stuff, I would much rather they didn’t come at all,” he added.

“Of course, we need to take tougher action against this type of behavior. It’s basically destruction of property. It’s just like what people used to do in conveyor belt sushi restaurants,” he said. he said, referring to recent cases of so-called sushi terrorism in Japan, where people filmed themselves licking shared soy sauce bottles in restaurants or touching plates of food coming down from mats wheels, before sharing the videos on social networks.

The theme park, which opened in November after years of delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, brings some of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved characters and scenes to life in a forest at Aichi Earth Expo Memorial Park – the former home of Expo 2005.

As the park itself admits, “there are no big attractions or rides in Park Ghibli.” Customers are instead encouraged to “walk around, feel the wind and discover the wonders”.

So far, three of the park’s five planned areas are currently open to visitors: “Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse,” a large indoor “city” filled with streets, exhibits, and famous scenes from the studio’s films; “Hill of Youth”, which overlooks the park and offers a panoramic view; and “Dondoko Forest”, a children’s zone with the house from the classic animation “My Neighbor Totoro” and a Totoro-themed playground.

CNN’s Maggie Hiufu Wong contributed reporting.

Leave a Comment