There’s no doubt that Barbie has generated tons of controversies all over the world, mainly for its feminist perspective that has made many audiences (men mainly) uncomfortable. Now that the movie has closed its second weekend with $775 million worldwide, news of a boycott in Japan comes as a big surprise, especially because it isn’t precisely because the movie might’ve made the Japanese audience uncomfortable with its themes, but because of the popular Barbenheimer trend.
Why Is Barbie Being Boycotted in Japan?
As it is well known, many Hollywood movies tend to be released in Japan several days (if not weeks or months) after their worldwide release. Barbie was scheduled to be released in the country this upcoming August 11. However, with powerful hashtags on social media, Japanese users are calling for a boycott of the iconic doll movie.
As we could all see (and enjoy), several memes and fan artwork were promoting the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which were released on the same day almost all over the world. The merging of both movies and themes resulted in endless images of atomic bombs painted in pink, which Japanese users are finding extremely offensive… and they’re not wrong.
Since the official Barbie movie account on social media has actively engaged with these posts, many believe that they’re “actively validating and encouraging such memes.”
— かろ (@aqbl_000) July 30, 2023
This tweet basically covers the sentiment of many Japanese users regarding the mockery of one of the most horrific events in their history (and the history of humanity, we may add). The tweet translates as follows: “The official Barbie movie account is completely on board with the atomic bomb and mushroom cloud memes, so Barbie is a no-go as well. It can’t be excused by saying that it’s just the fans going too far and that the creators had no such intentions anymore. End of story. #NoBarbenheimer.”
This Ken is a stylist 😉
— Barbie Movie (@barbiethemovie) July 21, 2023
It’s worth noting that Barbie was sparking a huge excitement in Japan, and people were happily jumping into some of the Internet trends related to the film. However, users believe that the Barbenheimer phenomenon isn’t only disrespectful but actually diminishes a tragic and devastating event.
Oppenheimer Release in Japan
So far, Oppenheimer has no official release date in Japan, and it’s uncertain if will even be premiered in the country. Being such a difficult subject in the history of Japan, it’s likely that they will find the movie that only focuses on the American perspective of the creation and consequences of the atomic bomb to be problematic.
However, many Japanese could be interested in seeing the perspective of Robert Oppenheimer, who is known for having regrets about his creation once he saw the devastation his bomb had caused. Yasuaki Yamashita, a Nagasaki survivor living in Mexico, shared his thoughts on the movie and explained that even when he finds it hard and painful to watch, he believes everybody should watch the film to prevent something like that from happening again.