The Guardian asked movie producer Yoshiaki Nishimura if Studio Ghibli would ever employ a woman director. His reply, published last week, drew widespread criticism. This week, Nishimura has apologized.
Nishimura recently produced When Marnie Was There and The Tale of Princess Kaguya for the studio, receiving Oscar nominations for both.
In his original reply regarding Studio Ghibli employing women directors, Nishimura told The Guardian, “It depends on what kind of a film it would be. Unlike live action, with animation we have to simplify the real world. Women tend to be more realistic and manage day-to-day lives very well. Men on the other hand tend to be more idealistic—and fantasy films need that idealistic approach. I don’t think it’s a coincidence men are picked.”
“I would like to apologize for what was proclaimed in a June 6 article in The Guardian. The article was based on an interview done in the U.K. on September 28, 2015, and sure enough, those are the things I said. First of all, I left Studio Ghibli in late 2014, and I not a Ghibli employee. I would like to apologize for making everyone who loves Ghibli feel unpleasant due to the misunderstanding that this was representative of Ghibli’s thinking. Secondly, as for the comment that men tend to be more idealistic and women tend to be more idealistic, that is a discriminatory, one-sided point of view, and I most certainly had that. I’ve reflected, and I have learned a lesson. Gender is not related to making movies. I am truly sorry.”
The tweet was signed “Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura” and appeared on the official Twitter of Studio Ponoc, the studio Nishimura founded last year.