entertainment

Johnny Depp film sees Minamata pollution issue as cautionary tale

64 Comments
By Natsumi Mizumoto

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

64 Comments
Login to comment

Great to see Depp back. That bed soiling nutty chick didn't ruin his career.

24 ( +33 / -9 )

It is considered one of four major pollution diseases in the country and taught in schools as an example of the negative impact of postwar Japan's rapid economic growth.

Education on the issue doesn't seem to go far beyond the textbook. The least teachers could do is connect it to the injustices done to the victims by the government as well and to other examples of pollution for economic gain. It's far from being just an issue of the past.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

I really hope this film sees Johnny Depp back to being the great actor that we know he can be. His career has been down the toilet lately (pun intended) and this could be his salvation. That the movie is about a tragedy that needs to be remembered is what makes it worthwhile, and I really hope it works.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Many pollution disease, nuclear policy that caused Fukushima disaster, and corona virus measures that only increase victim,

Japan's arrogant politics that prioritizes benefit of large corporations or national policy than the lives still continues as ever.

25 ( +31 / -6 )

Will be interesting to see and, …‘redemption’ for Depp?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Perhaps this is an account posters like @Antiquesavings have been trying to call attention to for so long about the J govt & businesses?

@Antiquesaving Jun 28 9:02pm:

We keep hearing about no proof of cover-up, conspiracy, etc... By the government.

Let's all be reminded about past health cover ups in Japan.

Minamata disease, the HIV infections of Hemophiliacs.

Both continued with government actively playing down the true situation until they could no long denied reality and facts.

In the meantime more people got sick and more people died and to this day we still do not know the full count or extent of the damages.

So it is not like the Japanese government doesn't have a track record of downplaying these situations.

Those are just the two most prominent.” -

11 ( +15 / -4 )

It was not until 1968 that the Japanese government recognized that Minamata disease was caused by industrial pollution and stopped the water discharge. It is considered one of four major pollution diseases in the country and taught in schools as an example of the negative impact of postwar Japan's rapid economic growth.

Unfortunately the same ruling LDP has not given up on its policies of denying recognition and compensation for victims of the corporatocracy. Case in point: TEPCO and Fukushima.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

In a clever bit of rebranding it is called "ittai-ittai byo" in Japan.

This movie will bring national shame, which is always a good motivator in this country.

I hope people will them turn their eyes back to the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima.

It has certainly been forgotten by most of the populace.

23 ( +30 / -7 )

It has to be a foreign film ...

Japan will never see itself in a mirror for that kind of event.

Waiting for the Fukushima one in 2051.

25 ( +31 / -6 )

"I feel bitter to think that I might not have suffered if the government had valued the lives of people and stopped the discharge"

This realization of betrayal by corrupt government bureaucrats and their utter indifference to human suffering is what has led millions of angry voters around the world to the tipping point of desperation rendering them vulnerable and susceptible to the toxic snake oil sold by right-wing demagogues rather than educating themselves to understand the issues created by corporate greed in cahoots with government corruption that pose a threat to their well-being and even costing them their lives.

The director's hope of inspiring and uplifting people to try to advocate for each other, recognize that their voices can be heard, and take a stand when governments and corporations act against their best interests is a noble sentiment and laudable goal but, if the historical record does not lie, apparently asks too much from the millions whose ignorance and inertia never fail to deliver them into the clutches of powerful and unscrupulous actors who promise to provide them the pittance of bread and a feast of circuses. The bio-pic genre is usually thin gruel, but this film has an important story to tell and will certainly do some good, just as the director and his team with Johnny Depp hope.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

This was a tragic incident, and I remember seeing photos of it in the Life magazine as a child . . . it is important for people outside of Japan to know of it . . . .

14 ( +19 / -5 )

This was a tragic incident, and I remember seeing photos of it in the Life magazine as a child

Tragic? It was a shocking calamity - a crime against humanity.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Excellent idea to make a movie about Minamata. Where greed and corruption meet.

This is a topic that most Japanese don't discuss so often if at all. As human beings, it's questionable about how much economic development is good and when does it go insane as it did in Minamata. It also reminds me of the problem in Flint, Michigan and their toxic water problems. It's a serious problem that isn't just history but one that's very much still with us, and often it's the politicians who are covering it up, as in Flint, Michigan.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

As Depp said this has happened and is happening all over the world.

The greed of corporations is a given. Profits over lives.

But the bigger tragedy is that those who are supposed to protect the people, the government, turning their backs on those they should be protecting

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Profits over people's health.

Greed over openness and truth.

This is the face capitalist ( communist) endless need for greed over human and environmental health.

Humans will never learn.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

That's how to get un-canceled. Make something the woke brigade simply can't criticize. Hats off!

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

In 1960s factories dumped as much polluted/poison water as into river and sea. There were no pollution laws at that time. Locals were suffered from minamata disease by water pollution there. That was a disgrace for Japan.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

“"I studied about Minamata disease last year in history class, but the movie was so real. The problem is far more serious than I thought," said Mami Matsukawa, 15, who was among some 180 students who watched the film at the public Kojimachi Junior High School.”

yup people should question more about what they have been taught about historical events!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Was the government planning to dump something in the sea soon up at fukashima? History repeats itself.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Was the government planning to dump something in the sea soon up at fukashima? History repeats itself.

All nuclear reactor power plants sitting nearby river/river all over the world are dumping diluted tritium water (by IAEA guide line) from the plants into river/sea because they use a lot of water to cool nuclear reactors and dump the water into river/sea finally.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

correction: .........sitting nearby river/sea all over the world...........

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What is next? Love Canal, Flint, Three Mile Island?

This immoral hands on other people should retire.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It is called Minamata disease and everyone around the world contaminated with Mercury knows the name and why it is named.

Enjoy your bluefin tonight for dinner.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sounds like another 'white man saves the locals' movie.

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

Pukey2Today  10:12 am JST

Sounds like another 'white man saves the locals' movie.

It is more like a foreign investigative journalist!

He may have happened to be white but could have been any colour but had to be a foreign journalist.

As we are seeing right now in the present health crisis, as we saw with tainted blood, HIV and hepatitis C, etc... The government did what it could to withhold information, downplay the situation, and the Japanese Media just continued to publish and repeat the official government line not once questioning it, not once taking the risk and going deeper and investigating.

It took over 10 year after acknowledging Minamata for the government to admit it knew the source, it took longer to find out part of who kept the information from the people, Tainted blood took the same 10 year then 20 years for the documents to show up that showed the government knew all along. Hepatitis C the same, etc...

What is next? Fukushima, Covid,.....?

If this shows one thing, it is time for the Japanese journalists and new organisations to stand up and do their job and get to the bottom of the story, get the facts and question the government's "official" line.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

In my first job straight out of school at 16, trainee or apprentice Instrument and Control Technician, we used mercury in some of the gauges, which I add to fill weekly. I was so careful when handling that stuff and also ensure when it was disposed it went to the correct company to deal with it. Make sure there was none under my fingernails.

The Minamata is such a tragic human event.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Itai-itai byō, the ouch-ouch sickness.

Just terrible.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My hometown of Los Angeles has a similar problem with PCBs spread over the seabed. They're still cleaning it up. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-lawsuit-los-angeles-idUSKCN1T02DJ

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Here is something else. Thugs were hired to beat up Eugene Smith. He was blinded until brought back by surgery. This is how dirty Japanese capitalism could get to hide the truth.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Depp is an amazing actor. Looking forward to watching this when its released. September 23rd is my birthday too. Stoked!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The LDP-Keidanren-Kokkakomuin nexus is sure gonna be hopping mad about this movie. Probably accuse it of being financed by the Chinese government.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Wow…

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Pukey2Today 10:12 am JST

Sounds like another 'white man saves the locals' movie.

In 1972 Smith went with a group of plaintiffs in the case to attend a meeting with Chisso executives at a factory in Chiba. They were attacked by a group of thugs and Smith was beaten unconscious, nearly losing an eye. He never really recovered and died a few years later in Arizona aged 59.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

When I was 15, we watched at school The List of Schindler and photos of what a corrupted nation coud do as ultimate harm.

At that age, you should be reminded with all facts. That is education.

I am European and I see that in Asia they don't know their history at all.

Minamata should be an on going topic discussed regularly.

Japanese tend not to be able to criticize at all obvious human done catastrophes by fear of governement. My Japanese educated colleagues never discussed any thing of the past Japan.

I wonder if actress Minami is fearing for her career has not to give her last name.

Covid 19, will be another story to unfold in the future for Japan by a gaikokujin.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Johny Depp if a formidable actor by the way, starting from 21 Jump street.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In a clever bit of rebranding it is called "ittai-ittai byo" in Japan.

What is "ittai-ittai byo"? 

You mean "itai-itai byo"?

"Itai-itai disease (Itai-itai byo)" and "Minamata disease (Minamata byo)" are two different pollution diseases.

"Ittai-ittai byo" is a disease that occurred in Toyama, and "Minamata disease" is a disease that occurred in Kumamoto.

Please study more.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Do foreigners think that "Itai-itai disease (Itai-itai byo)" and "Minamata disease (Minamata byo)" are the same disease?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Itai-itai disease - toyama 1910

Minamata disease - kumamoto 1956

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I wonder if actress Minami is fearing for her career has not to give her last name.

Errr. No.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why did "garymalmgren" think that "Itai-itai disease" and "Minamata disease" were the same disease?

And there was no one to correct the mistake except me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wonder if actress Minami is fearing for her career has not to give her last name.

What are you talking about?

"Minami" is her stage name. It's also her real name.

https://www.instagram.com/minamimanim/

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This film is the only way the japanese public will really learn about Minamata. I wonder how many will watch it though.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Minamata is just the most well known internationally of the Corporate/government collusion in covering up pollution and health crisises.

Toyama cadmium, the Yokkaichi sulfur dioxide, the tainted blood for both hepatitis C and HIV, all of which the ministry of health has some form of knowledge of the causes but either took no action or actively helped cover things up for decades.

More recently we have Fukushima and Covid, both situations the government claims everything is just fine despite signs all is not fine in either case.

This has been a clear pattern by the LDP and industry in Japan, so take what the government claims with a very big grain of salt.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Nice to see some ‘balance’ of ‘perspectives’ @Antiquesavings is back in these threads:

*- @3:04pm: “**If this shows one thing, it is time for the Japanese journalists and news organisations to stand up and do their job and get to the bottom of the story, get the facts and question the government's "official" line.” -*

1 ( +2 / -1 )

60s to 90s, foreign films were praising all about Japan and now they are making anything that is a problem in Japan but this Earth itself has problem everywhere whether by nature or people.

Anyway, no matter what they say or what they show, i love Japan, it will always be my Top 5 Country in the world.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Shame the movie is mostly panned by cristics.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

snowymountainhellToday  03:25 pm JST

Nice to see some ‘balance’ of ‘perspectives’ @Antiquesavings is back in these threads:

Thanks, family emergency, made more difficult by the fact, hospitals are in a mess and getting my son into his regular hospital was a nightmare due to covid.

If as the government says things are getting better, why is it so hard to get a chronicly ill person into the hospital that has been going to since he was a very young child and where his surgeons are?

Minamata was the most publicised but not the only one and I doubt we have seen the end of similar situations,

Here we are decades later and again Japanese journalists are saying nothing, they are not asking questions and the only journalist that are asking the hard questions are foreign news outlets again!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Antiquesaving

Thanks, family emergency, made more difficult by the fact, hospitals are in a mess and getting my son into his regular hospital was a nightmare due to covid.

Hope everything is getting better for you and your son.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

In 1972 Smith went with a group of plaintiffs in the case to attend a meeting with Chisso executives at a factory in Chiba. 

I've read that he went with a group of activists to meet Chisso trade unionists.

My understanding of Smith's role in the Minamata thing was in creating international interest. It had been an ongoing thing in Japan for a long time before, and many Japanese activists, scientists, journalists, etc. had helped to get things resolved (perhaps not the best word considering those who continued to suffer).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Shame the movie is mostly panned by cristics.

It has mostly positive reviews from the critics, even more from the audience - so I don't know where your information comes from.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why did "garymalmgren" think that "Itai-itai disease" and "Minamata disease" were the same disease?

You've really got a bee in your bonnet on this topic.

And while your question is insincere, I am happy to have a go at answering it.

The cases are typically covered together in literature about Japan that covers the great industrial pollution cases in Japan, so it is hardly surprising that people might confuse the two.

I am not sure why you are making such a big deal about this.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Homeboy has not aged well at all.

Dude you played Hunter S. Thompson as a character, let it go already bro.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

letsberealistic

Shame the movie is mostly panned by cristics.

Incorrect.

The movie has an IMDB rating of 7.8 out of 10; a Rotten Tomatoes critic's score of 73%; and, an RT audience score of 92%.

commanteer.

It has mostly positive reviews from the critics, even more from the audience - so I don't know where your information comes from.

From out of thin air, it seems.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is one of best threads JT has had for some time. Please keep it going for a while more.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ Pukey2: Sounds like another 'white man saves the locals' movie.

This is a movie based on historical fact. Is it not possible for you to believe that such men (you know, white) to do good things for people unlike themselves?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Itai-itai disease was found in the cadmium(Cd) polluted Jinzu River basin in Toyama Prefecture and has been generally recognized since the 1950's by the effort of inhabitants and Dr. Hagino who was a general practitioner with a private clinic in the polluted area.

http://www.kanazawa-med.ac.jp/~pubhealt/cadmium2/itaiitai-e/itai01.html

Minamata disease, sometimes referred to as Chisso-Minamata disease, is a neurological disease caused by severe mercury poisoning.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just watched it.

Great movie.

I realized that Japan hasn't changed much since post-war.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

We can see even on this thread that some Japanese are unable to accept and acknowledge anything negative about their country even if it's an undeniable fact. Their oversensitivity, nationalistic education system, and pride even extends to their own citizens. Many victims of Minamata Byo have been criticized, insulted, and even attacked for demanding recognition and compensation. They side with the gov't and Chisso corp over people who are clearly victims of a massive attempt at a coverup.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Minimata is another example of Japan's culture leading to non transparency, and it allows for hiding things the people of Japan should know and acknowledge. This pervades to the population and it's tough to watch society have lies and secrets which if they don't acknowledge, gets swept under the genkan.

Actually, the lack of integrity and truth is detrimental to their humanity and souls, as it were. Far too many people believe it's fine to not have reasoning on a daily basis in lieu of rules and following orders. For the free nation of Japan, it is unfortunate the people are often self shackled in doubt and ignorance, with shame they don't understand, but know it is there.

It ultimately is a lack of courage and self worth to lie, and the Japanese know it, but then won't buck the lies, they'll live them, as a rule.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It would be nice if Mr. Depp could also make a movie about the millions of folks in America and other countries who have been slowly, subtly, poisoned by the disposal of industrial waste in freshwater reservoirs used for drinking water under the guise of "dental health."

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

igfklinSep. 19  01:51 pm JST

In a clever bit of rebranding it is called "ittai-ittai byo" in Japan.

What is "ittai-ittai byo"? 

You mean "itai-itai byo"?

"Itai-itai disease (Itai-itai byo)" and "Minamata disease (Minamata byo)" are two different pollution diseases.

"Ittai-ittai byo" is a disease that occurred in Toyama, and "Minamata disease" is a disease that occurred in Kumamoto.

Please study more.

Absolutely correct. Itai Itai Disease was cadmium poisoning in the early 1912. Minamata Disease was Mercury poisoning in the 1956.

HelixSep. 19  03:01 pm JST

This film is the only way the japanese public will really learn about Minamata. I wonder how many will watch it though.

Don't know how old you are but the "Japanese public" has known about Minamata for over 6 decades. Maybe you are talking about 20 year olds who don't know anything about anything. Minamata is one of the reasons many Japanese find the "mercury" argument by anti-whaling fanatics that the j-govt is allowing mercury tainted meat to be sold.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It would be nice if Mr. Depp could also make a movie about the millions of folks in America and other countries who have been slowly, subtly, poisoned by the disposal of industrial waste in freshwater reservoirs used for drinking water under the guise of "dental health."

Are you talking about water fluoridation?? You mean that thing they’ve been doing for decades? That thing the medial community the world over agrees is a powerful tool to help fend off tooth decay with no measurable downside?

Do you want them to stop iodizing salt, too?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The next one might be a collaboration with Michael Moore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could have been modelled on Fukushima today….not much has changed really…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites