Here's Why Studio Ghibli Sent Weinstein A Samurai Sword

Years before being exposed as the sexual predator we now know him to be, Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.

Controlling a large part of the movie world through his production company Miramax, he often added a personal – and largely unwanted – touch to films. Frequently battling with directors, Weinstein earned the nickname 'Harvey Scissorhands' thanks to his habit of adapting movies to suit his own tastes.

Harvey Weinstein and Hayao Miyazaki during the New York Film Festival, September 26 1999. (Photo: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

The producer was known for cutting, recutting and even entirely reworking movies with little respect for the creative process of those he was working with. Among the prestigious works to suffer at his hands was Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, which was famously cut down by a whole hour.

Another similar story dates back to 1997 when Harvey Weinstein's company was in charge of producing Hayao Miyazaki's latest feature Princess Mononoke. As usual, Weinstein attempted to erase various parts of the movie – but this time he'd met his match. 

"No cuts"

"I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts," the Japanese director explained some years later. Luckily things didn't go much further than that, thanks to a pretty devious plan of intimidation.  

A few days following the meeting, Harvey Weinstein found a special package from Studio Ghibli in his letter box. Inside was a sakana sword with an ominous message attached that simply read: "No cuts."

As Miyazaki admits, it was actually his producer Toshio Suzuki that came up with the idea and eventually put it into action. And it's a good thing that he did because the film, which quickly became a classic, was never altered. 

A victory that Hayao Miyazaki proudly set out to the Guardian in the years following, noting with a smile: "I defeated him."