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Freedom of expression and education


The Japanese Anti-Smoking Institution, which leads an anti-smoking campaign, submitted a controversial document, which says that a part of the remarkable animation movie "Kazetachinu" directed by Hayao Miyazaki, encourages minors to smoke.

The story is set before World War II, and it's said that 84% of men smoked at that time, according to past data. The document has aroused controversy on the Internet: some argued that we shouldn't restrict our freedom of expression; "The prewar historical background is quite different from that of postwar. Moreover, it is one of the movie scenes. We shouldn't confuse fiction and reality."

A famous neuroscientist, Kenichi Mogi, says that those who are anti-smoking should continue the campaign and their Public Relations. However, they have no right to meddle in the representation of a movie made by others. It could be thought of as "Anti-Smoking Fascism" he criticizes.

Matsue city board of education in Shimane prefecture said, "Hadashi no gen" or "Bare Foot Gen", which is a famous series of manga and depicted the horrors of the atomic bombs, has such excessive portraits of elementary school pupils that schools must not lend it out freely and should put a restriction on it. I learned the horrors of the atomic bombs through that manga when I was an elementary school student. In fact, some of the scenes were so atrocious, I was so scared to read it. At the same time, however, I understood how horrible war was, thanks to it.

Our daily lives are filled with more cruel manga and expressions. I don't agree with its judgment at all. I'm concerned that we are keeping our children away from unsuitable information and materials. I think that clear-sighted children never grow up if we do that. Rather than that, we should teach them how to judge which information is correct or true, I believe.