David Pilling, in the Financial Times, refers to the Shinzo Abe, the hawkish prime minister who has proposed the revision of the Japanese constitution – in particular Article 9:
1. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.
2. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of aggression of the state will not be recognized.
He points out that even in the last referendum which had a low turnout, 56% of those who voted still oppose constitutional revision, adding that there is still:
“a fairly strong bulwark against constitutional change, which requires not only a two-thirds majority in parliament but ratification in a public referendum. Even Mr Abe admitted last month that he did not have the numbers”.
Pilling reports that Hayao Miyazaki, a world-renowned director of children’s animated films, including the delicately beautiful My Neighbour Totoro (above) and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, has made his latest film about the Zero, the legendary Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft, noting that Miyazaki’s love for planes has been seen in his films, with the dragonfly-shaped flying machines in “Laputa: Castle in the Sky” and the amphibious fighter planes of “Porco Rosso”.
He been labelled as “anti-Japanese” and a “traitor” on rightwing chat sites, because The Wind Rises portrays the war as a pitiful waste of human life and when the film was launched in July he published an essay – see below. Miyazaki explains:
“My wife and my staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war? And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject.”
And much of the Japanese public is backing Hayao Miyazaki: since its release four weeks ago, The Wind Rises has consistently been number one at the box office.