Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More "Yasukuni" - Censorship is Alive and Well in Japan

No Tokyo theater to show 'Yasukuni' documentary

Three more cinemas in Tokyo and one in Osaka have decided against screening a contentious documentary film by Chinese director Li Ying on the war-related Yasukuni Shrine scheduled for release in mid-April, officials of the cinemas said Monday...

The 123-minute documentary won a best-documentary award at the 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival. It was also shown at international film festivals in South Korea, Germany and the United States.

Read the story at Japan Today

If only this was an April Fool's joke...

See previous VAOJ posts about the film here.


You will notice that the headline and story at Japan Times have changed at the link above. The new headline is:

Tokyo theaters under fire for deciding not to show 'Yasukuni' documentary

Culture minister Kisaburo Tokai on Tuesday expressed regret over the recent moves by some cinemas to decide against screening a contentious documentary on the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo set for release in mid-April...

he Mass Media Information and Culture Union issued a protest statement Tuesday, saying, ‘‘This is an unusual situation in which political pressure and hindrance by right-wing groups is about to thwart film screenings and a movie is about to be crushed. It’s absolutely unforgivable.’’

‘‘The Japanese film industry is faced with a humiliating situation which underlines Japanese society’s abnormality,’’ it said.

Issuing a separate statement Tuesday, the federation of cinema and theatrical workers’ unions urged movie companies and theaters to secure screening opportunities...

The Directors Guild of Japan expressed apprehension about the possibility that freedom of expression may be compromised following Monday’s development and issued a strong protest against some lawmakers’ action of calling for a preview of the film, saying it may be ‘‘anti-Japanese.’’

Cinemas in Sapporo, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Fukuoka are still scheduled to screen the film, according to Argo Pictures, one of the distributors.

It's encouraging to see this kind of reaction. It would be nice if it resulted in more theaters showing the film.

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