China’s main entry to the Tokyo International Film Festival has apparently been pulled, the event’s organizers said on Friday, as a bitter row with Japan over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) spilled over into the arts world.
However, the festival’s secretariat said it would still screen Wang Jing’s Feng Shui — the only Chinese film nominated for the festival’s grand prize — because it had not received formal notification of the withdrawal.
A statement by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency on Thursday said the producers were withdrawing the film in protest over the island dispute.
The 25th annual festival opened yesterday and ends on Oct. 28, featuring 15 international films that have been nominated for its top award, the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix.
The decades-old dispute over sovereignty of the islands — known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, and which are also claimed by Taiwan — has flared up in recent months.
However, the head of the festival’s secretariat, Nobushige Toshima, said on Friday they would show the Chinese film as planned.
“We have received an e-mail from an unnamed sender that had attached to it a joint statement purportedly from the film’s three production firms, which said they are withdrawing the film,” he said.
“The statement didn’t have any representative’s name, signature or seal on it,” he said. “Therefore, as we haven’t received any formal communication, at the moment we are due to screen the film as planned.”
Toshima said the statement was similar to that reported by Xinhua.
On Friday, the film’s distributor, Beijing Antaeus Film Co Ltd, confirmed on its microblog that the film had been withdrawn.
The distributor said in a posting late on Thursday: “In the current environment, Feng Shui chose to give up when it was close to success, indeed it is a pity for the film but a [source of] pride for the Chinese people.”