's The Wind Rises has held the top spot in Japan's box office for four weeks, proving the Japanese love for all things from Studio Ghibli, but can it change the trend to see Japan's Imperialist past in a nostalgic glow? The Wind Rises tells two stories: that of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the Zero fighter used by Japanese pilots in World War II and that of the poet Tatsuo Hori, an impressionist writer who died young of tuberculosis and whose work is filled with a reverence for nature mixed with a melancholy tone.
It doesn't take a big leap of imagination to see that Miyazaki sees himself as Hori, but the Horikoshi voice has the distinct echoes of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe has tried to reframe Japan's role in World War II by questioning whether it is proper to say that Japan "invaded" its neighbors and that the offical 1995 apology to the "comfort women" of Japan, the conscription prostitutes provided to Japanese troops during the war, was neither necessary nor warranted. Also, that the Japanese constitution should be rewritten to allow the Japanese army (formally called the Self Defense Force, SDF) to become a standing military. The Abe nationalist have attacked Miyazaki for comments as those in a recent interview "... that we had "fought a truly stupid war." From the looks of The Wind Rises trailer, the beauty and the depth of the art should far outlast the controversy.