Sakamoto, best known for her Rapunzel manga, is opinionated. Back in 2006, she blasted otaku for idolizing young girls. It was a fair argument to make, and one worth making. Her latest rant, however, seems insensitive and out of touch. It has nothing to do with geek culture in Japan. It's all about crying babies.
In a recent column posted on Yahoo! Japan, Sakamoto recounted traveling in a JAL flight from Ehime to Tokyo. On the flight, there was an infant who was about one year old, and who was crying and screaming. According to Sakamoto, the mother and the cabin crew weren't trying to rock the child.
Other passengers, Sakamoto wrote, in coach with her said that this was an infant and that nothing could be done. The attitude was that, "It can't be helped." Sakamoto, however, was livid.
After the flight—a one and a half hour flight—Sakamoto says she went up to the mother and told her that she shouldn't allow her child to travel until the kid was at least two years old. "Just because this is a baby," Sakamoto scolded, "that doesn't mean you should allow the child to do anything."
Then, Sakamoto filed a complaint with JAL, saying she wanted the airline to provide a soundproof compartment and sleeping medication for small children. Then she asked the airline, "Can't you prevent children under two from flying?"
JAL's reply was that the airline is public transportation, and thus, it could not make such regulations regarding infants.
Okay, as someone who has traveled a lot with infants, I'll be the first to say, it sucks. It sucks for the parents, it sucks for the kids, and it sucks for everyone sitting around you. And let me apologize on behalf of all parents who have traveled with small kids: We're sorry! But sometimes you need to use air travel, because there are relatives to see.
Short flights are rough, because once babies' ears stop popping, the descent makes them start popping again. Long flights are exhausting, but the babies usually can settle in, sometimes after crying themselves to sleep.
And infants cry for a variety of reasons—they might have a rash, gas, or can't fall asleep.
I don't know if the mother really wasn't trying to calm the child, but I do know that saying you should give sleeping meds to babies or not allow them to fly sounds nutso and vaguely manslaughter-y.
再生ＪＡＬの心意気／さかもと未明（漫画家） [Yahoo! Japan]