Japanese animator and director Hayao Miyazaki created a firestorm early this week when he stated that the cartoons published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were a mistake.
Miyazaki, whose films with Studio Ghibli include Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and The Wind Rises, sat down for an interview with TBS Radio on February 16th and spoke at length about the attacks carried out on the French publication early last month.
Islamic terrorists assaulted Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris and left 12 dead and 11 injured. Miyazaki said it was a mistake to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that incited the attack and said the cartoonists should have focused more on their own politics, politicians, and religion instead.
“I think it’s a mistake to caricaturize the figures venerated by another culture. You shouldn’t do it,” Miyazaki stated in the interview. “Instead of doing something like that, you should make more caricatures of you own country’s politicians,” he said.
The second part of the interview:
Charlie Hedbo had been known to lambast Catholicism, the country’s most prominent religion, and French politicians. Religious figures like Pope Francis have also said Charlie Hebdo should not have published the comics.
“There is a limit,” he said, according to Time. “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.” But the Pope also condemned the attack on the publication.
Miyazaki is well known for his anti-war stance and has seen his fair share of controversy over his opinions before. In 2003, he refused to attend the Academy awards, in which Spirited Away won the best animation Oscar, due to the United States’ participation in Iraq war.