Earlier this month we reported that a small number of people had been taking and appearing in “lewd” photos with statues at Studio Ghibli’s new theme park, and that the act of posting those images on social media had reportedly “disturbed many people”.
“Frankly speaking, posting photos like that on social media is very inappropriate”, the Governor of Aichi Prefecture (where the park is located), Hideaki Ōmura, said at the time. “From adults to children, people go to Ghibli Park to enter the Ghibli world and enjoy themselves. Clearly this action disturbed many people,” he added, saying that local authorities have since told park staff that “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. Of course we need to take harsher measures against this kind of behavior. This is basically destruction of property.”
As the Mainichi Shimbun (via ANN) report, last week the three men responsible turned themselves into the mayor’s office, having been “worried about the influence of their actions”, and “asked for a meeting with the Ghibli Park promotion department”.
“Taking those photos went beyond the level of a practical joke”, they say in a statement (translated by ANN). “We’ve caused a lot of distress to everyone. We endeavor not to cause any mischief in the future.”
For his part, Ōmura said in a press conference held on March 24 that despite originally pursuing legal action against the three, he is willing to accept their apologies and “would like this to mark the end of this matter”.
Ghibli Park opened last year after numerous delays, but isn’t really finished; while it’s selling tickets, and there are three areas to explore (including the house from Totoro), two other spaces (including a Mononoke-themed forest) are still under construction, and aren’t due to be completed for another year or two.