According to Hayao Miyazaki, the act meant “I defeated him”.
Ever since news of sexual abuse allegations against American film producer Harvey Weinstein broke last October, more and more disturbing claims have surfaced, detailing the mogul’s extensive use of intimidation and bullying tactics in order to satisfy his personal desires and face down anyone who appeared to stand in his way.
While many people were forced to relent to Weinstein’s menacing ways, one man and his team in Japan refused to let the producer mess with them, standing up to him in a most memorable fashion: with a Japanese samurai sword.
The story, which has resurfaced in the midst of the Weinstein scandal, was first told by Studio Ghibli director and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki in an interview with The Guardian in 2005, back when Weinstein was still a respected, albeit feared, Hollywood producer.
At the time, Miyazaki was in Venice promoting his latest film, Howl’s Moving Castle, and the rare interview was said to be the first one the director had agreed to in 10 years. While the discussion mostly revolved around his craft, at one point the interviewer asked whether the rumour about him sending a samurai sword to Harvey Weinstein was actually true.
Miyazaki confirmed the story, saying, “Actually, my producer [Toshio Suzuki] did that”, before going on to reveal that the sword was sent after Weinstein, who was in charge of handling the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke, bombarded him with an “aggressive attack” and “all these demands for cuts”.
The sword was sent to Weinstein in the post with the following message attached: “No cuts”.
Weinstein, who was known for editing down movies to his liking, eventually backed down from making any cuts to Princess Mononoke’s U.S. release, and as Miyazaki recalled the story to the interviewer, he smiled and said “I defeated him.”