The South China Morning Post reports that renowned animation director Hayao Miyazaki has drawn criticism from right-wing and nationalist Japanese factions for perceived anti-war messages in Kaze Tachinu, his latest film about the life of Horikoshi Jiro, creator of the Japanese Zero fighter. Despite its subject and setting during World War II, the movie portrays Horikoshi as a designer whose work was “captured by capital and militarism” (in the words of Japanese history professor Matthew Penney), and Miyazaki himself has criticized the current political leadership for their hawkish foreign policy stance and historical revisionism. Internet backlash has criticized the film for being overly left-wing and labeled Miyazaki himself as “a traitor” and “anti-Japanese.”
The criticism from nationalist circles does not seem to have had much impact on the movie’s box office success, where it joins the latest in a chain of Studio Ghibli successes, taking in 960 million Yen (approx. $77 million) in its first two days of release.