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2014年8月22日 (金)

(社説)「アナ雪」人気 生きにくさを超えて

August 21, 2014
EDITORIAL: 'Frozen' craze in Japan mirrors women’s struggle to break glass ceiling
(社説)「アナ雪」人気 生きにくさを超えて

In the current dog days of summer, somewhere in this country someone is singing “Let It Go,” the well-known

signature song of “Frozen,” a Disney computer-animated musical fantasy that has become a box office blockbuster.


Released in March in Japan under the title “Ana to Yuki no Joo” (Anna and the Snow Queen), "Frozen" is the tale of

two sister princesses. Elsa is the queen who has the magic power to turn things into ice, while Anna is her younger

sister who does not have any special powers, but is possessed of a cheerful spirit.

Since its release in Japan, “Frozen” has attracted nearly 20 million moviegoers and has raked in 25.3 billion yen ($245

million) in ticket sales. It has become Japan’s third-highest-grossing film of all time, following “Spirited Away," which

earned 30.4 billion yen, and “Titanic,” which grossed 26.2 billion yen.


More than 2 million DVDs and Blu-ray discs of “Frozen” have been sold since they were released last month. Sales of

the CD soundtrack have reached 900,000 copies.

The princess fantasy film is a staple of Disney movies. Depicting a world of snow and ice with breathtaking artistry,

"Frozen" is enjoyable to a wide range of ages.

“Let It Go” has gained enormous popularity. Countless videos showing someone singing the song have been

uploaded to the YouTube video-sharing site.

A Twitter survey has found that the number of tweets about this movie has been far larger than those about other hit

films, with the buzz about "Frozen" in the Twittersphere lasting far longer.


A huge number of people have found themselves feeling a strong desire to sing the song and tell others how they

have been inspired by the movie. They have used the Internet to communicate and connect with others who also

identify with the movie.

“Frozen” has been a global hit as well, but its box-office sales in Japan have been second only to those in North

America, where it was created, and on a different order of magnitude from those in other countries.

It is notable that in addition to families with children, a large number of adult women have watched the film in Japan,

according to the distributor.

One of the co-directors of “Frozen,” Jennifer Lee, is the first female director of a Walt Disney animated feature film.

She also wrote the film's screenplay.

In the movie, Elsa and Anna overcome their difficulties on their own instead of waiting for a knight on a white horse

to come to their rescue. Elsa sings the theme song when she decides to stop restraining herself and start using her

special power freely.

Japanese audiences have responded strongly to a movie in which the heroine sings a song about “being herself.”

This must have something to do with the reality of this society, where women face various obstacles, big and small, in

their lives.

While the movie was showing in Japan, a string of incidents happened to underscore the difficulties facing women.

While the Abe administration has pledged to boost the status of women in the economy as part of its growth strategy,

a babysitter who was hired by a single mother to take care of her two children was arrested after one of the children,

a 2-year-old boy, was found dead in the babysitter's apartment.

There were also scandals concerning sexist remarks hurled against female members of the Diet and a local assembly.


In a Mie Prefecture-sponsored meeting to promote gender equality, male business leaders uttered sexist remarks,

with one saying women are simply beneath men in terms of social standing.

In order to change this environment, it is necessary for us to pay attention to each of the problems involved, voice

our opinions and make efforts to eliminate them.

We need to take a fresh look at flaws in our social systems and keep questioning various prejudices against women.

Such efforts are crucial for building a society where women, and men as well, can have a fulfilling life.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 19


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