Print Edition - 2016-02-18  |  ASIANEWSNETWORK

musings

Feb 18, 2016-

The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Feb. 2 issue.

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The princess of an unspecified country who is secretly taking in the city sights drops into a cafe and smokes a cigarette for the first time in her life. Many of you must remember the lovely expressions on Audrey Hepburn’s face in this scene from “Roman Holiday.”

Will this classic movie be made subject to this measure, too? I’m talking about a recommendation by the World Health Organization to governments around the world that an adult rating be given to films that show smoking. The recommendation is reportedly aimed at preventing young people from taking up smoking.

“Considering the historical background when this film was made, we will show the original smoking scenes.” A day might come in the future when such a notice will appear in films, essayist Tatsuji Abe wrote in his book “Saijiki Kuzushi” (Variation of a glossary of season-specific words for haiku poets) published by Bungeishunju Ltd. eight years ago.

Abe’s bitter prophesy is becoming reality. Blue smoke may sometimes be necessary even in films that would move the hearts of middle and high school students, to depict the era or express the psychology of characters in the story. This columnist would like to ask the authorities not to rate films so severely.

Joe, the news reporter who leads the princess into the “bad habit” in the movie, and this columnist are in the same business. I’m not taking the side of smokers, only trying to support the art of film. Please don’t call me “a modern Gregory Peck.” (The people around me assure me that nobody would call me that anyway.)

Published: 18-02-2016 07:54

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