Japanese conservatives censor Oscar-winning film


This video from the USA is called THE COVE – Official US Theatrical Trailer in HD.

From Reuters:

Dolphin hunt film screenings cancelled in Tokyo

ABC June 5, 2010, 9:00 pm

Tokyo screenings of The Cove, an Oscar-winning documentary about a grisly annual dolphin hunt have been cancelled over planned protests by conservatives who say the film is anti-Japanese.

The film, which picked up an Oscar for best documentary feature this year, follows a group of activists who struggle with Japanese police and fishermen to gain access to a secluded cove in Taiji, southern Japan, where dolphins are hunted.

Directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and featuring Ric O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer from the Flipper television series, The Cove has prompted activists to threaten street demonstrations.

Planned showings of the film at two cinemas in Tokyo this month have been cancelled because of fears the protests might inconvenience movie-goers and others, according to Unplugged, the Japan distributor.

Screenings at one Osaka theatre have also been called off, but Unplugged is still in negotiations to show the movie at 23 venues around the country this summer, said a spokeswoman for the company, who asked not to be named.

Unplugged has received threatening phone calls and protesters have gathered outside its offices, she said.

“The Cove is absolutely not an anti-Japanese film,” Takeshi Kato of Unplugged said in a faxed statement.

“I believe a deep and constructive debate is needed about the content of the film.”

Mr O’Barry, who is set to visit Japan from June 8, said Japanese filmgoers should be allowed to see the documentary.

“It’s not right that a small minority of extremists could take this right away from them,” he said in a statement. “To do so is a clear threat to democracy.”

The film was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year, but has yet to be made widely available to the public.

‘Blood Dolphins’ Revisits Site Of The Cove Movie Where Dolphin Slaughter Continues: here.

Bloody Tide of Taiji Dolphin Cove may Finally be Turning for the Better: here.

4 thoughts on “Japanese conservatives censor Oscar-winning film

  1. Japanese pundits protest cancellation of dolphin-hunt film “The Cove”

    June 08, 2010 – 03:57

    Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

    TOKYO – Fifty-five journalists, academics and film directors in Japan condemned intimidation and threats that led movie theatres to cancel screenings of “The Cove,” a documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in a Japanese village.

    Three movie theatres that had been scheduled to show the film later this month cancelled their plans last week after receiving a flood of angry phone calls and warnings of protests by nationalists, who have been screaming slogans outside the Tokyo office of the Japanese distributor in recent months.

    Protesters criticize the film as a betrayal of Japanese pride.

    The American movie, this year’s winner of the Academy Award for best documentary, features undercover footage of the dolphin hunt in a Japanese village and documents efforts by Ric O’Barry, a former trainer for the “Flipper” TV series, to stop the slaughter of dolphins for food.

    Distributor Unplugged said it was negotiating with dozens of theatres throughout Japan, but no showing has been scheduled so far. The film was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October, but has not yet opened to the Japanese public.

    Movie director Hirokazu Koreeda, journalist Soichiro Tahara and feinist Chizuko Uneo were among the 55 public personalities who signed a protest letter in which they said they were alarmed by the intimidation tactics used to pressure theatres to cancel the planned screenings.

    “This is a film that has been widely shown abroad. If the work, which is about Japan, cannot be shown in Japan, it only underlines the weakness of the freedom of speech in Japan,” they said in the statement sent to media and Unplugged on Monday.

    They said that opinion may be divided on the film, but that meant it should be shown to a wide audience to encourage debate.

    Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat. But some believe killing dolphins and whales is part of traditional culinary culture and resent the interference of outsiders focused on species protection.

    “The work intentionally distorts Japanese people’s food culture, and showing this will hurt many people’s feelings,” one of the protesting nationalist groups, Shuken Kaifuku wo Mezasu Kai, said in a recent statement.

    “It’s true Japanese may not feel happy about the way they are depicted in this film,” Tahara said earlier this week in an interview broadcast on the Internet. “But blocking it is not right.”

    O’Barry blamed “a small minority of extremists” for the theatre cancellations.

    “The Japanese people have a right to see it if they want to,” he said.

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