Acclaimed Ghibli director Takahata encourages citizens protesting against Henoko relocation

Acclaimed Ghibli director Takahata encourages citizens protesting against Henoko relocation

Animated-film director Isao Takahata visited in front of Camp Schwab at Henoko, Nago, to encourage the sit-in protesters on December 6.

December 8, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Isao Takahata, the eighty-year-old film director of Studio Ghibli animations, made his appearance in front of the gate of the U.S. Marines’ Camp Schwab on December 6. Takahata has earned critical acclaim for Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, among many other notable works.

Citizens protesting against a new U.S. military base construction in Henoko welcomed Takahata with a round of applause. Takahata emphasized, “The Japanese people must unite together in opposition.”

The main purpose of Takahata’s visit to Okinawa was to give a guest lecture at Okinawa University. Earlier that day, he had stopped over at the Takae district of Higashi, before visiting the gate for about 20 minutes.

In the rain, he approached the tents with an umbrella in hand. About 50 sit-in protesters welcomed him and encouraged Takahata to give a few words. Although taken back by the sudden request, he agreed. Takahata stated that while Japan has enjoyed the past 70 years of peace, Okinawa has had to bear an inevitable burden. “Today, this issue requires more attention than ever before from us people living in the main islands of Japan,” he said.

After his greeting, the citizens sang Tinsagunu hana as a token of gratitude. Takahata clapped along appreciatively with a smile. Takahata chanted back to the protestors chorusing, “It’s not over until the Abe regime surrenders the new base construction.” Finally, the residents sent him off with an exciting Kachashi performance.

(English translation by T&CT, Kaya Doi)

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