Tokyo screenings of dolphin film cancelled after threats
A Japanese film distributor said Friday that no Tokyo theatres would be screening an Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin slaughter in Japan due to protests by right-wing groups.
Unplugged Inc. said it had cancelled a screening of "The Cove" scheduled for June 26 at a theatre in Tokyo after Japanese right-wingers - known for ear-splitting street protests using loud megaphones - targeted the cinema.
The distributor later confirmed that two more theatres, one in Tokyo and the other in Osaka, had cancelled screenings, meaning no Tokyo theatre is expected to screen the film.
"The Cove" depicts fishermen's annual dolphin hunt in the southern Japanese town of Taiji and won the Academy Award for best documentary in March.
The film, featuring graphic footage of the sea mammals being harpooned to death, angered local fishermen, who say dolphin hunting is part of their culture and slammed the covert techniques employed by the makers.
The distributor said cinema staff had suffered harassment, but insisted it would go ahead with screenings at 23 other theatres nationwide while looking for alternative venues in Tokyo.
"'The Cove' is hardly an anti-Japanese movie. We believe that it's necessary to have a deep and healthy debate about the film's content," Unplugged chief executive Takeshi Kato said.
At the Oscar ceremony, director Louie Psihoyos denied his movie was guilty of "Japan-bashing" and said it was meant as a public health warning to Japanese who are sold dolphin meat contaminated by mercury.
In 2008 the threat of right-wing violence forced several cinemas in Tokyo to cancel plans to show a film about the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, and the distributor delayed the premiere by several weeks.
Arts & Ents blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
Liam Gallagher slams Daft Punk: 'I could have written Get Lucky in an hour'
Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
After 61 films, including The Hangover Part III, Heather Graham admits she still likes to boogie
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 3 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 4 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.