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'Lighten up,' French magazine tells Japan after Fukushima cartoon complaint

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3kunfuuSep. 20, 2013 - 03:29AM JST

I see that this is the French sense of humor, but I am not amused. Japan does not feel the need to make fun of other cultures in our news media when they have a disaster. It would be better for them to show some compassion for the victims and to humbly congratulate Japan for our amazing winning Olympic bid.

You are defending for a wrong side of issue. You never make a fun of others when others are in disaster or in time of crisis. It is an universal ethics and a morale standard. Some never get this basic quality in humanity and get themselves into trouble.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think Japanese schools should teach satire when they teach English... because they really don't get it.

France: makes some satire about Fukushima Japan: outrage France: Lighten up... it was a joke... you guys have no sense of humor... Japan: proves their point by getting more angry France: ...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Satire is just that - SATIRE. If it doesn't feature significantly in one's own culture, so be it, but don't decry others for using it.

And please stop this "THE French and THE Japanese" nonsense. The cartoon was produced by a handful of people who work for a small independent magazine famous for it's biting commentary. ALL the French did not publish or promote the cartoon. And by the same measure ALL Japanese do not shun public ridiculing. In Fact, public ridiculing and shaming is a daily event here. Witness the bullying, beating and harassment that passes for normality that occurs on a daily basis throughout society.

And as a note, I find it hard to believe people up in arms over the cartoon because of it's offense to living victims of a tragedy, can then condone (by voice or silence) the rights of "freedom of expression" of the manga industry here to churn out graphic child rape murder comics oblivious to the suffering of the living victims of such vile perpetrations.

Yes, Lighten up Big.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I see that this is the French sense of humor, but I am not amused. Japan does not feel the need to make fun of other cultures in our news media when they have a disaster. It would be better for them to show some compassion for the victims and to humbly congratulate Japan for our amazing winning Olympic bid.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Best defense is an attack. A Japanese newspaper should print a photo of crepes with corn, wakame and natto toppings. How about that?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I never understand this part of us humans. Twisting the knife in the wound. Does it make them feel so good? What do they gain from it? Instead of wasting their time making a stupid comic as this one they better use it to think about how to help them. Could they've handled it better? I doubt it. The Japanese do not play the victim card, they are victims. No one could foresee what happened there back then. Now they try their best to deal with something that should never have happened. I think the ones who made this comic are TOO lightened up. They do not experience how it is over there. They do not risk their health trying to get this mess under control. Would they lighten up if this would've happened to them? You should look at a situation from the other perspective too before taking action. The way they think is selfish. Only thinking about themselves.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I am with France here. It is not up to Japan to dictate rules for satire in other countries. Just like it is not up to Maori women (as reported in another article) to dictate onsen rules in Japan. Diversity means that there are different rules in different places.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

People who get offended, deserve to be offended.

Once again the Japanese show how unsophisticated they are, by playing the victim card and continuing the pantomime of being offended.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So silly of the J-gov--this local, minor story is now famous around the world - - it is now in all the media due to the ineptitude of this official protest. It would have died a quick death if it were ignored.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan does not have a vigorous tradition of satire. Its cultural emphasis on the importance of social harmony also discourages public ridiculing of others.

This is the bit I find the funniest by far.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

These cartoons are in really bad taste. I'd be ashamed to be the writer or the publisher.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

" Its cultural emphasis on the importance of social harmony also discourages public ridiculing of others. "

I've seen plenty of public ridiculing in this country with the relationship of senpai and kohai. I'd go on to call it extreme bullying.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The principle of satire is to tell the contrary of what you think in an inflated way. This cartoon actually defends the victims and by no way is mocking about them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

All this "outrage" is ridiculous, but I think that they got more upset over the imagery (Japanese are not used to satire) than the criticism of Fukushima disaster. There are a lot of criticism of the Fukushima disaster (including ones from France), and most Japanese do not get upset over that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Anyway, when French start sprouting extra arms, I'm sure they will just "lighten up" about it.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Knox Harrington

...it's difficult to grasp that people can both like and detest a place.

that sounds freudian, such love-hate sentiments. maybe very much in line with that magazine where people there work really hard to come up with the best way to maximally offend, hiding behind a cloak of "satirical freedom of expression" and "we are just making innocent fun". its like love-hate, that you feel such joy and entertainment from offending others.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

To all foreigners saying that this cartoon is made in bad taste...you're must be from north America, because Europeans are raised with this kind of satire and we don't think of it as funny or insulting. Japan should keep its nose out of other countries and stop playing the" poor us" card

Frankly, your so-called "european satire" smells like a dirty toilet. The problem is not with "playing the poor us card", the real problem is your bad taste and plain idiocy.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

etou... Japan would never have had to weather these caricatures had they been honest about the disaster and efforts to clean it up from the beginning. Everything coming out of the mouths of Japanese authorities regarding the Daiichi disaster have been: Lie, Lie, Lie, (after evidence surfaces exposing the lie) half-lie, half-lie, (more evidence exposing the half-lies) truth? (maybe). The Japanese authorities' actions over the last two years have directly contributed to the reason caricatures such as the ones in the French satire magazine exist at all. The fact that those same authorities are involved with the Olympic bid naturally generate questions as to how many outright lies were handed to the International Olympic Committee in order to secure the 2020 Olympics.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Firstly, I love good satire. The cartoon in question is neither good nor satire. The real joke is the French people who thought this is the least bit funny.

Secondly, IMHO, Japan's Gov't needs to let this go...for now. It's not worth the effort & any complaints will be used against the Japanese people. I would just let it slide...for now. And remember the wise words of the great philosopher, Sum Dum Goi, "Paybacks a (censored)"

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

This Newspaper is specialized in satires , criticizes and ridicule almost everyone and particularly France and the French themselves and doesn't represent "The French" in any way

They have been countless of lawsuits against them by frenchmen , and they are totally free to decide what they want to publish , so all those post sayinn " The French should do this " , " The French should do that " , " The French shouldn't laugh about this , shouldn't laugh about that " are preposterous , Le Canard Enchainé is not controlled or censored by the government and its management is like 10 persons at most out of 65 millions frenchmen

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I found the cartoon pretty much unfunny, but also at the same time, has a string tinge of truth to it.

As of now, we're too early to see with our own eyes, the effects of the worst nuclear accident ever (yes, I say even far worse than Chernobyl).

Come 2020, the massive effects of the radiation exposure on the people of Japan would have been felt. There will be many birth defects, so the thoughts of three legged people and people with multiple eyes living in Japan in the future, are not too far off the truth. Even today, the children at Fukushima have stopped growing. You can only imagine what kind of radiation their bodies have been bombarded with, so much that their heights have stopped growing for two years.

The cartoon wasn't funny, nor was it compelling. But I do understand that it was sarcastic attempt at mocking the Olympic committee decision to give the games to Tokyo, and PM Abe's infamous speech that everything is under control. And not only France, but also papers in Germany and Britain also had similar type of mocking cartoons about the Fukushima games. I wonder why Japan didn't also go after Germany and Britain, and also ask them to apologize?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

@Balefire

I understand the freedom of expression issue, and I understand the concept of satire, and I certainly think that there needs to be frequent attention drawn to the utterly inept and systematically dishonest way that the Fukushima disaster is being (incompetently) dealt with...even more so now after Abe's incredible "under control" BS. Nevertheless, I think that the "mutant/sumo" cartoon is in terribly bad taste. The cooling/Olympic pool one, I don't have a problem with. The former seems to me to mock the victims, current or future, IMO, while the latter mocks--rightly, I believe--TEPCO and the Japanese government. Good, effective satire chooses its target wisely, IMO.

I agree with you. I can stand the pool one. We all think TEPCO and Japanese government should be blamed for many reasons.

But I don't think the mutant one is funny at all. There are still so many people of Fukushima who were forced to leave their homes, and many of them are restricted to do searching work of the bodies of their missing family members, relatives or close friends killed by tsunami, because of the radiation-contaminated area. Also, they themselves are struggling with the fear of radiation. I don't think they can accept it as a joke to depict them as something like future mutants.

I even see a prejudice colored perception of the cartoonist against Japan.

You can call me a person lacking a sense of humor, but just tell me, where I can find evidences that radiation would affect in such way to make people with extra limbs. I even saw some Koreans posted a girl with 6 or 8 eyes saying an effect of radiation of Fukushima.

As far as I know, the damages of radiation effects are thyroid cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, or sterilization. Is it confused with Agent Orange? I don't know.

Canard Enchaine says it was to lighten up. Very good.

But who can laugh off the tragedy as a joke for their future are only victims themselves. Not others. Obviously not the arrogant French media.

I want to ask the cartoonist. Just think about the children in Fukushima, before you draw a cartoon about Fukushima next time.

By the way, has the French company AREVA contributed anything to solving the problem? They should have made so much money from the Japanese government or TEPCO already.

-2 ( +4 / -5 )

Le Canard Enchainé is a free newspaper with no governmental censorship. This is a polemic newspaper but with an outstanding history of true whistle-blowing and a lot of court winning cases. It shows the bad side of reality in a crude/funny way to shake the establishment. Such a newspaper in Japan would be a balloon of oxygen!

With the OGs, Japan should get ready for that. Fukushima will become a daily matter worldwide very soon.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Unfortunately, even prime minister stated that current situation of nuclear plant is under the control, thats difficult to prove because if you look at what exactly have been happening around there, nobody can be sure that there is no influence by polluted water which has been blowing to the ocean, however what French media has been painting about that cannot be allowed and forgave.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Taka,

Yeah, difficult to understand isn't it? It's difficult to follow when people express their opinions, it's difficult to grasp that people can both like and detest a place.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Lighten up? That's real funny coming from the French. Let's see how they'd like it if a Japanese paper wrote an editorial making fun of the way they surrendered to the Nazis during WWII. Oh wait, they'd complain for ages. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

its hard to predict which way the wind will blow in this forum. sometimes you see china-bashing in favor of japan, now its japan-bashing and french arse licking. i dont think french culture is superior to japanese culture. and i hate french food, they cook everything with butter.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I see the usual suspects that cannot understand that the world is bigger than Japan have gathered again with their ever present: " But what if someome did that to the French??!! How would they feel?!!" And again, they miss the mark by a mile. In a free (truly free) society, you have the right to speak your mind, no matter how other people feel. You do not self-censor. You are allowed to disagree.

Cos says it above:

Yes, they did, they do, they will.

That seems about right. I would expect for the French to question things. Hell, I wish all people questioned everything. Bowing and saying kashikomarimashita is just sad.

Fortunately enough, the few Japanese/Japanophiles that comment here are not really representative of the whole of Japan. Problem is that most people never speak up against wrongdoings, even if they disagree.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

that frenchy newspaper or whatever it wants to call itself has a tradition of tasteless and disrespectful provocation. it would not be proper to now go against the french people because of that incident. but we can go against the people that work for the cartoon magazine, right? they probably do that out of trauma, their ancestors surely were among those welcoming the nazis and turning in jews, so you must forgive them.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

UsagitoSaru: "I am sure if someone did something similar to France and told them to lighten up they would be just as angry.."

Actually, I'm pretty sure they just would not care at all, because they don't suffer the insecurity level seen here. When something good happens here and/or Japan is praised, they make it their mission to let the world know. When it's something critical they do their best to ignore it, but if it's big they call it an attack on culture and play the victim. That's the way it is.

Meanwhile Japan still produces a comic devoted to utter hatred towards South Koreans, and the people lap it up -- and it's certainly not satire.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Sure, if you like cartoons in extremely bad taste.

Exactly, it is in bad taste. But, people should have the right to be tasteless. I think this would have been better served to have ignore the cartoon. That is not to say there isn't a problem in Fukushima. There is.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"I don't see anything wrong with the pictures"

Sure, if you like cartoons in extremely bad taste.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am sure if someone did something similar to France and told them to lighten up they would be just as angry..

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

will Le Canard Enchaine make the same kind of jokes - say - if French children ever suffer as Japanese children have, in that disaster?

Yes, they did, they do, they will. This paper has about 12 pages, totally dedicated to that. It's their specialty.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Joi-24,

Why do people wants to brought up the past?just let go..think about what happening this time!wars are everybody's fault..and about this "lighten up"..it's so easy for them to say it,when they don't even experienced it for them selves..freedom of speech is important but in a way that you don't mock people..is it because of the Olympics?because they choose Tokyo?if Madrid was chosen,did they think japan would make fun of them?i don't think so..

Your comment is typical of the Japanese mindset. Impossible for tou guys to handle criticism, much less to look at yourselves with any humor at all. I'm am cery curious where this insecurity stems from. You know, other peoples of the world have experienced unpleasant things too. Other countries have made mistakes as well. Japan has no special "do-not-critcize-me" card they pull out whenever another nations press speak their mind. It looks petty and insecure to complain about a comic. Very petty.

Some complains are justified (diayou/senkaku comes to mind). This comic is no issue at all. Just shows that you guys need to grow the hell up and take it like a country of the international community.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

We complain about that to China too....

Yeah, but then it is true.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Stop bullying and provoking Japan..... sound familiar? We complain about that to China too....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh the poor, sensitive oyaji in power in Japan... The French make fun of you, aahhh.

I know it hurts when people tell the truth. Fortunately enough, Europeans are used to criticize. Everything. That includes their own governments actions (and non-actions) as well as that of other countries. There is not the pathetic notion of self-censorship for the sake of "harmony". Le Canard is right. Lighten the hell up.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Triumvere: First rule of making jokes out of sensitive topics: be funny.

Yep. The cartoons seem childish. Even The Onion can get away with just about anything if it's done right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@MaximumMan: I think you don't know how it works... Japanese nuclear utilities send their used nuclear fuel to France and UK to reprocess it (separating the content of used nuclear fuel) and then they send it back. The reprocessing allow separating hi radioactive material from low radioactive material as well as reusable fuel and depleted uranium. The world regulation is very tight about nuclear waste. So no, France and UK is not sending nuclear waste to Japan, it's the contrary.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Maybe 'Le Canard Enchaine - ' feels some kind of yearning for the worldwide publicity gained by those journals that published the 'mohammad' cartoons - Someone needs to explain the difference to them. Making jokes about other people's disaster, misery, pain and tragedy - seems to me to be like a classic 'how would you feel' - and 'do to others as you would like done to yourself ' situation. Certainly, it does seem to me, also - to be very seriously tempting fate - with so many nuclear power stations around France (59) - so will Le Canard Enchaine make the same kind of jokes - say - if French children ever suffer as Japanese children have, in that disaster? Especially in view of the fact that following the Fukushima I nuclear accidents an OpinionWay poll found that 57% of the French population were opposed to nuclear energy in France. My guess is - not - the French, culturally - are deeply caring for their families, and to ridicule such appalling pain & horror, would put all the 'Canard' staff in line for a reinstallation of the guillotine. (Despite declining newspaper circulations in France, and elsewhere, Canard is rich, and growing)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They just need to keep raising the safe limits till it's safe again. All under control.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with Ossan. In the QI nuke bombing scandal, the quip was offensive but amusing. The French cartoon is just plain dumb and heavy-handed in concept and execution.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

the French are happy to send all of their nuclear waste here to Japan to be dealt with and then to bag the Japanese.....its all well and good that japan accepts all of their nuclear waste....send the waste back !!!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@pochan,

Very true. They just want to hear positive things. Proof a good number of them are caught in a vortex.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This satire would not have come about had Abe not lied to the world to win the 2020 Olympics. No sympathy given.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A Realist,

Wrong, whats not funny is what the J-govt & tepco have been doing, more like NOT doing, HENCE the satire!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's not funny and would be very hurtful to victims of a tragedy. I suppose they think its very funny if somebody slips and breaks his neck. Those people should grow up and dispense with the sick "humor,"

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

So, the images give the wrong impression about events in Japan?

How is that Mr Suga?

Not a day goes past and there is another leak found or radioactive concentrations double or there are malformed vegetables,insects and fruit discovered!

The corium in the ground is still there and duct tape repairs don't prevent the massive outflows of contamination 24/7!

So, what next?

As in Russia there will be a trend towards deformities in humans. If there are what then? Are we to be surprised? No,the effects of radiation have deleterious effects on the body at a molecular level which disrupts and destroys DNA

The images of 3 armed Sumo wrestlers is most certainly surrealistic but radiation has exactly this type of effect on the body.........

Link to video

http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=39213

Warning-it is graphic

There are hot spots in Japan that even now young children are living in.

Mr Suga should be responsible for evacuating those at risk instead of denouncing images in a French magazine

1 ( +4 / -3 )

no wonder Japan has become the laughing stock of the world,by the way Tepco and the politicians handled(mis?) the crisis from the beginning.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

pochan, quite right. It was hardly a reference to Olympic decapitation and Japan's natural advantages in this area or the introduction of biological experiments as an Olympic event in 2020. It was satire about a current world event, and one that Japan is steadfastly refusing to tell the truth about. Japan used Fukushima as a trump card to win this bid, but can't take a satirical joke about the events there. This is quite frrankly pathetic. The Japanese can't take a joke about Japan ever, but are happy to openly criticize and laugh at other countries and cultures on a near-daily basis. TIJ.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan as a country is in desperate need of growing a pair!

Suga, sorry but the rest of the world is free to make their OWN opinions, we don't need to be dictated to by nhk or the J-govt thank you!

Surely I am not the only one who has noticed the caricature that goofball sanma on tv with huge buck teeth that could shovel a 2-3lane street in one trip, YET if someone outside Japan drew a Japanese with huge buck teeth we would be having some twit like suga telling us how we should think.

Come Japan grow up we are begging you!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The government has repeatedly claimed the accident and its waste water problem are under control

That statement is much more humorous than the cartoons.

Unlike many European countries, Japan does not have a vigorous tradition of satire. Its cultural emphasis on the importance of social harmony also discourages public ridiculing of others.

And Japanese politicians make the most of the fact, often displaying breathtaking stupidity with virtual impunity.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Where I'm from (U.S.A.) when we hurt someone's feelings or offend them, we are generally taught to apologize. And we're not exactly known to be the most polite country out there. Just saying.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This magazine makes satyrical comments on French and world news. This means that most of the comics and other are directed at the French government. The French government doesn't control its media and takes the criticism. It just shows how Japan has a much stronger control of the media. When the government is confronted with satire from outside the country, they don't know how to handle it and overreact.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It is just a sign of Japan's naval gazing and narcissism. They continually canvas foreigners for their opinion of Japan, have hours of TV programmes based around the idea of what foreigners think about Japan but the opinions are only valid if they are positive. The minute they express any opinion that is negative or critical about Japan they begin complaining and whining.

Looks like Japan is getting a taste of the harsh reality that it can't silence the rest of the world, the way it can its own people.

I think it is more like Japan is getting a taste of the harsh reality that it no longer has the economic muscle to silence the rest of the world. Gone are the days when Japanese corporation can threaten foreign publications to remove articles that are offensive to Japan. We will see more and more foreign press that it critical of Japan because as the power of Japan inc. declines, so does their power to muzzle the foreign press.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

This article and all the reactions shows there are a lot of different culture in the world.

In France, everything is acceptable to make some jokes or satires even showing the prophet of a religion that does not allow representing him. In Japan (China and Korea), losing face and being joked on is totally unacceptable and disrespectful. In the US, making a joke or comment on something that can hurt a full community is unbelievable.

This being said, these differencse is why it is fun in a world with different cultures. Everybody had experiences on cultures differences here in Japan; sometimes it must have been a very tough situation but when each party explains its culture specificity, it ligthen up.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

First rule of making jokes out of sensitive topics: be funny.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

ka_chan: "Seems that the disbelieve continuously being expressed by China and Korea is spreading."

It's a shame that you had to throw in this last statement after admitting yourself NO ONE believes the J-gov't and Abe made statements in his Olympic bid speech that he could not possible (sic) know. EVERYONE knows Fukushima is not 'completely safe and no danger', and even today yet ANOTHER admittance by TEPCO that more and more Tritium is flowing into the ground water (and they don't know where the leaks are!).

That the gov't promises safety, money, and control over the situation but provides otherwise is pretty good grounds for satire. People can argue all they want that the actual drawings were tasteless -- I think they more or less were -- but that's the same freedom of speech comic writers here argue should allow them to keep gang rape in their comics, etc.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

chucky3176Sep. 13, 2013 - 11:30AM JST

Lighten up Japan. Remember the racist anti-Korean "Kenkanryu" comic book that sold over 2 million copies 8 years ago, and still being sold? France has nothing on Japan that compares to this...

Or the painted black faces that until recently used to pass for evening TV humour, or the still portrayal of Caucasians with a Japanese walking on your TV screen with a fake blond wig and a fake big nose.

Usual childish Japanese, jumping up and down at the racial slights of others, while ignoring their own racial slurs and stereotypes towards others.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

“These kinds of satirical pictures hurt the victims of the disaster,” Suga told a news conference.

No, TEPCO and GOJ not giving a damn about Fukushima is what hurts the victims of the disaster!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Suga said the satirical jabs give the wrong impression about the country.

That's the exact impression that the world has. And that's not the Canard that gives it, but Tepco and their buddies in the successive governments since March 2011.

Imagine if similarly insulting cartoons involved Islam or China or (heaven forbid)

Such cartoons are regularly in French media. China doesn't react much usually. Islamists automatically.

Germany. Hitler cartoons for example.....

If I was given 1 cent for each published Hitler cartoon, lame joke, voice parody, etc, I'd retire next week.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

“These kinds of satirical pictures hurt the victims of the disaster,” Suga told a news conference.

No Mr. Suga your governments continual deceit, obfuscation, negligence and corruption is what has hurt the victims of the disaster. How dare Japanese government tell a foreign newspaper what they can and can't print.

Crack a joke to the French about how they bent over for the Germans and see how they react..

Or we could make jokes about the Japanese having killing competitions over in China. Do you see what I did there? It isn't nice, in fact it is in disgusting bad taste. Obviously you don't know the difference between satire and just being disgustingly offensive.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Japan complains about everything. Stop lying to everyone about Fukushima. Tokyo is a great city and yes they did win the Olympics but it doesnt mean people will come if the radiation issue goes on endlessly. I hope the satire of this comic doesnt come true down the road.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Looks like Japan is getting a taste of the harsh reality that it can't silence the rest of the world, the way it can its own people. I fear this is going to get worse and worse over the next 7 years unless Japan can deal with this nuclear problem effectively. If the country isn't safe, how can it host the Olympics?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Lighten up Japan. Remember the racist anti-Korean "Kenkanryu" comic book that sold over 2 million copies 8 years ago, and still being sold? France has nothing on Japan that compares to this...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/19/international/asia/19comics.html?incamp=&_r=0

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The Japanese 'should' lighten up. If their idea of 'under control' is pumping 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean every day then they deserve to be ridiculed. If they were to get their shit together and show the world it is actually under control there would be no need for ridicule. The fact they are over-sensitive to ridicule just proves how bitter the truth can be to swallow.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Seems that the disbelieve continuously being expressed by China and Korea is spreading.

So a disbelief about Japanese government's lies that everything's under control, in which any 7 year old child can see right through the BS, are all spread by your arch enemy Korea and China? Unfricking believable!

I just don't get it. If Japanese have the freedom of speech to shout "death to all cockroach Koreans" as they march in middle of the streets every week with hate banners flying all over the place, why can't the French media print one tiny cartoon meant to be sarcastic without being asked to apologize? What if Korea asked Japan to apologize for holding the weekly racist festival in Japan, I'm sure everyone here will be saying "it's freedom of speech".

If Japan is mad at the French and want an apology, just wait until they see the Fukushima cartoons done up by the medias in Britain and Germany. Japan's going to be asking for a lot of apologies from a lot of countries, especially when the time comes closer to the 2020 Olympics, when Japan is going to be scrutinized very long and hard by the globe. You better get used to it, Japan.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Yes, maybe a overreaction but not just Japan. Imagine if similarly insulting cartoons involved Islam or China or (heaven forbid) Germany. Hitler cartoons for example.....

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It’s hilarious to see the Japanese high-ranking officials who can’t stand the criticism about Japan from foreign citizens or medias irrelevant to the official positions of their governments. Japanese politicians need to be mature.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I've never seen Japan take bantering well and easy. With every negative or satirical comment from outside, the Japanese say they are deeply hurt. How 9 year old! Or is bantering a sure sign of Western decadence??? I think not. Cultural maturity and tolerance it is.

The bottom line of all this caricature is that there are many people actually worried about it. The worry comes largely from the way the J gov and TEPCO have been handling the whole thing: not handling it and concealing it. The best way to refute the French cartoonist and others is to show them what's really happening in Japan and nothing further left to show. Show them and all of us that it's totally safe! Then they'll shut up (or not).

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What people seem to not understand is that there has to be truth in satire to make it work. Since it seems that it has to be explained.... what the pictures really says and it is not only France, is that no one believe J-Gov when they say they have Fukushima under control, especially Abe's last statement of which he could not possible know. Seems that the disbelieve continuously being expressed by China and Korea is spreading.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

this is one reason why Japanese dont make it it large numbers outside Japan, and the majority prefer to stay sheltered here. need to grow a thicker skin and mental toughness so you can say when people criticise/tease you, "stick it up your B, I dont give two F"

8 ( +9 / -1 )

editorial jokes are about poking commentary good or bad. Happens everyday. That's what freedom means in a free country. Japan should try it or better get used to it. 7 years to go

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't see anything wrong with the pictures. It's called freedom of expression. I know that suspicions are all around and there are many people who see it this way. Fair enough. No need to apologise. If you don't like it, you could just shrug it off as nonsense, because they'll write and speak their minds, no matter what you scream.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Balefire's got it right.

Satire is fine for highlighting incompetence. But it's not appropriate for making fun of sad situations largely brought about by a natural disaster.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japanese newspapers should publish cartoons depicting the Olympics in Paris with the city under occupation by the Nazis.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I thought Abe's ironic 'under control' when talking about Fukushima was far funnier than these cartoons. See, Japanese people have a sense of humour.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I understand the freedom of expression issue, and I understand the concept of satire, and I certainly think that there needs to be frequent attention drawn to the utterly inept and systematically dishonest way that the Fukushima disaster is being (incompetently) dealt with...even more so now after Abe's incredible "under control" BS.

Nevertheless, I think that the "mutant/sumo" cartoon is in terribly bad taste. The cooling/Olympic pool one, I don't have a problem with. The former seems to me to mock the victims, current or future, IMO, while the latter mocks--rightly, I believe--TEPCO and the Japanese government.

Good, effective satire chooses its target wisely, IMO.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

My problem with the (first) cartoon is that it's neither funny nor clever. If it was actually funny, I'd agree that Japanese officials should lighten up, but it's not. It's all good to shine light on the Fukushima problem, but mostly it looks to me like the French here just being jerks about it. I'm afraid that will be counterproductive.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Let's see how hard the French laugh if we make jokes or cartoons about the 'Great French Wine Blight!' and how a large portion of the so called Great Wines of France, which they boast about endlessly, come from grapes that were originally brought over from California! LOL!!! Now that is Funny!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Japanese do have a hard time taking criticism, and the worst part is by now the international community should have taken the fukushima problem out of their hands already, cleaned it up, and put Tepco (too big to fail) out of business, with the sole future purpose of shutting down what they have started. But congratulations on winning the olympics ..

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"To all foreigners saying that this cartoon is made in bad taste...you're must be from north America, because Europeans are raised with this kind of satire and we don't think of it as funny or insulting. "

what? do people really believe what they type

Satirical cartoons are in the every paper in the USA every day for the past 150 years. They basically invented in the UK and USA at the around the same time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editorial_cartoon

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the satirical jabs give the wrong impression about the country.

The government has repeatedly claimed the accident and its waste water problem are under control and should not affect the Olympics.

Unfortunately, they give a very clear impression of the country... The second paragraph says it all...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japanese "leaders" creation and handling of their man-made nuclear disaster is infinitely more offensive than any stupid cartoon. Drop the siege mentality, please.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It hits the nail in the most pathetic possible way! Mr.Suga is right. Imagine if an idiot/common senseless/immature person/group/nation saw those cartoons. And besides, France has also the greatest number of nuclear power plants/reactors in the world next to the U.S. They should show a little maturity about the matter.

Well, I think you may be missing the point that this was not something officially issued by the French government - this came from the media; likely some type of tabloid-like publication - not known for maturity, only freedom of expression.

That being said, the over-reaction by both the Japanese government and media highlights several things;

The "victim" mentality is clearly alive and well in Japan.

"Group-think" is the preferred form of expression.

The importance the government and people give to perceptions by the world outside Japan - all related to Japan's inherent insecurity and lack of confidence.

As has been stated above, the hypocrisy in feigning outrage at this cartoon yet saying nothing about the outrageous comments and actions by the far right fringe against Chinese and Koreans, and really all foreigners.

The fact that nation, nationality, culture and race are forever interlocked in Japan. As a foreigner, criticize any one of these, and to the average Japanese you are essentially criticizing them all.
7 ( +8 / -1 )

Any publication that keeps the Fukushima disaster relevant in the west, is fine by me.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Readers, the Holocaust is not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wouldn't be concerned about WTF (What The Fukushima), rather about a possible conflict with dear neighbor(s) that will endanger the games.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here's a clearer picture. You be the judge. I think it's juvenile.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02669/Le-Canard-Enchaine_2669102b.jpg

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The truth hurts. Maybe the government of Japan and Tepco will take a hint and stop covering up and start fixing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

These comics have nothing to do with the victims and everything to do with a commentary on the government's handling of the Fukushima situation. I find it hilarious that such a high ranking politician is wasting his time with such an inconsequential French newspaper. What legal or political grounds to they have to stand on in this situation when they ask for an apology?

And yeah, comparing the Fukushima situation to the Holocaust is COMPLETELY different.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Unlike many European countries, Japan does not have a vigorous tradition of satire. Its cultural emphasis on the importance of social harmony also discourages public ridiculing of others.

So, they are saying Beat Takeshi cannot be sarcastic and humiliate people?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Claiming on ongoing nuclear disaster is under control sounds like a joke in much worse taste.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

titaniumdioxide: "It hits the nail in the most pathetic possible way!"

But they hit the nail on the head, as you admit. What's more, while obviously these are not the 'Fukushima Games' but the Tokyo Games, Fukushima effects Tokyo, and as we find out more and more every day, the extent of those effects is worse than we thought, and that we have been lied to. In case you have forgotten, Tokyo nearly had to be evacuated thanks to the crisis in Fukushima, and if things continue to escalate and/or there is another quake, the capital is gone. Abe's vows and promises and obvious lip-service aside, Fukushima poses an obvious threat, and needs to be dealt with.

Disgusting comics, but they make a valid point that needs to be addressed.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

These are the same folks who produced the insulting pictures of Mohammed, and I looked at their stuff then. The cartoons seem to push boundaries, and are thus talked about, but I found most of them rather tasteless and not particularly either insightful or amusing. The satire is weak, and looks like something a geeky junior high student would think is funny.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Crack a joke to the French about how they bent over for the Germans and see how they react.

In their face, maybe yes...in a Newspaper cartoon on the other side of the world...no.

Anyways the second world war is history whereas Fukushima is recent and the cover up is now!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I'd normally side with the "lighten up" crowd, but these cartoons were repulsive. One of the sumo wrestler's eyes was hanging from its socket by a thread...it reminded me of serious, realistic artistic renderings of people after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That may have been this newspaper's intentions, but it was just ugly and nothing else.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

France saying "Lighten up" is funny the French are some of the most uptight in the world.

No they're not, you obviously don't have any French friends or spent time in France.

if Madrid was chosen,did they think japan would make fun of them?

Japan wouldn't because they couldn't, but the French would....

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Some of the comments made by the paper are in poor taste, and even a couple quite disgusting (like the reference to Kawashima), but there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1) it is SATIRE. The French media is quite well known for it, as is the British (look how often the former get threatened for Muhammed references or cartoons!).

2) There is an element of truth. The government literally used Tohoku to get the Games and ensured us all, through lies, that there is 'absolutely no problem' and there will be 'no health effects' to the ongoing nuclear crisis -- which is anything but the 'solved' they tried to sell us.

3) Japanese have zero grounds to complain about offensive comics, particularly those people screaming that gang-rape should be allowed in their comics in convenience stores because it's "freedom of speech". Even forgetting that publishing companies refuse to update to the more politically correct version of the children's book "Little Black Samba", or the entire series of comics devoted to hating South Koreans, or even certain local governments demanding decades-old and world famous comics about the atomic bombings being removed from school libraries, Japan produces some of the most violent and vile comic drawings in the world.

So yes, lighten up. You've already got the Olympics for 2020, and we know you want to look good until then, but expect more of this to come until you clean up your back yard.

23 ( +29 / -6 )

Civilized human beings should never make fun of other peoples suffering. full stop.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

France saying "Lighten up" is funny the French are some of the most uptight in the world.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Why do people wants to brought up the past?just let go..think about what happening this time!wars are everybody's fault..and about this "lighten up"..it's so easy for them to say it,when they don't even experienced it for them selves..freedom of speech is important but in a way that you don't mock people..is it because of the Olympics?because they choose Tokyo?if Madrid was chosen,did they think japan would make fun of them?i don't think so..

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Kyle Alpert - comparing the extermination of 6 million to the screw- up and incompetency of Fukushima shows your lack of understanding of one or both.

10 ( +19 / -9 )

Crack a joke to the French about how they bent over for the Germans and see how they react..

1 ( +19 / -18 )

It is telling the government do the right thing and not swept it under the carpet.

Suga should complain to PM Harper of Canada too I guess.

http://ca.images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0PDoXoFSTJShSsA1TDtFAx.?p=canadian+cartoon+on+fukushima&fr=yfp-t-715&ei=utf-8&n=30&x=wrt&y=Search

http://beforeitsnews.com/contributor/upload/5385/images/6a0120a56ab882970c01901ec0aba1970b-800wi.jpg

http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/directory/F/Fukushima.asp

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Guillaume - I agree 100%! Japan in not perfect (nor is any country) and I find it amusing how defensive they get when someone criticizes them. IE: How many times has TEPCO lied about the leaks? Yet they claim to have it under control now. Their credibility is beyond tarnished, it's almost comical. Something that could be potentially life threatening for the entire world has not been taken seriously. I don't feel bad for Japan- they need to get it together.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

StewieSEP. 13, 2013 - 08:02AM JST " Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the satirical jabs give the wrong impression about the country." Oh, really. Many would say it hits the nail right on the head. The world watches.

It hits the nail in the most pathetic possible way! Mr.Suga is right. Imagine if an idiot/common senseless/immature person/group/nation saw those cartoons.

And besides, France has also the greatest number of nuclear power plants/reactors in the world next to the U.S. They should show a little maturity about the matter.

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

Japan angrily denounced the cartoons and said it would lodge a formal complaint with Le Canard Enchaine.

I would love to hear Le Canard Enchaine pronounced angrily in katakana...

But the popular weekly said it took “responsibility for the cartoons without the slightest soul-searching” and complained that the Japanese lacked a sense of humor and that they should lighten up.

Nice. Very true. But how can you tell them to "lighten up" about something they have been trying very hard since day one to downplay, deny, and "cover up"?

One cartoon showed sumo wrestlers with extra limbs competing in front of a crippled nuclear plant. A sports commentator says: “Marvellous, thanks to Fukushima, sumo wrestling has become an Olympic sport.”

Haha! ANd yet, this is not such a far cry from a Japanese Manga plot, and if it were it fact made into a Japanese manga by a Japanese, it wouldn't get a second glance.

The government has repeatedly claimed the accident and its waste water problem are under control and should not affect the Olympics.

yeah.. yeah.. heard it all before, and it also does not affect rice, vegetables, fish, yada yada yada from the surrounding area.

Japan is traditionally sensitive to opinions about it expressed in foreign media and has been angered that a crisis that brought such human tragedy has become the subject of caricature.

Traditionally sensitive?? Oh cry me a river...ya think??? And I wonder why.. could it be because Japan is so fearful and ignorant about foreigners and their ways, especially of thinking?? And maybe, it wouldn't have brought so much 'human tragedy' if 1, TEPCO was not so negligent and lazy, and 2. if your gov had handled the situation better.

“These kinds of satirical pictures hurt the victims of the disaster,” Suga told a news conference. “This kind of journalism gives the wrong impression about the waste water problem.”

Again, what hurts the victims of the disaster more, cartoons like these that they likely will never see cause they don't have internet or television, because they are still displaced, OR them not being compensated and aided in their loss by their own officials and gov??

Horeau said the magazine was “absolutely stupefied” by the reaction to “cartoons which seem to us to be anodyne”.

I am absolutely stupified by how the Jgov can say the rice etc from fukushima and the surrounding prefectures can be deemed safe to consume, not to mention Japanese cartoons and media in general and how stupefying they are.

Unlike many European countries, Japan does not have a vigorous tradition of satire. Its cultural emphasis on the importance of social harmony also discourages public ridiculing of others.

Do the Japanese even understand satire or sarcasm??? I think not. North Korea seems to have a lot of social harmony and discourages public ridiculing of others as well...

This whole article is a joke.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Maybe France should lighten up about the Holocaust? In France, people get jail time for saying/doing anything that 'minimizes' or otherwise makes light of WW2 atrocities. For France to talk about its culture of free speech, etc... disgusting.

-14 ( +16 / -29 )

If "These kinds of satirical pictures hurt the victims of the disaster,” then WHY bring it to their attention? I'm pretty sure that 99.9% of Fukushima victims don't read the French satirical Le Canard Enchaine. For the French that do, a harmless chuckle.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Freedom of expression for those calling for Korean "Holocaust" (with NO official condemnation) but pressures on foreign governments for trying to censor foreign satirical newspapers. Talk about double standards...

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/23/national/nationalism-rearing-ugly-head-with-greater-frequency

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the satirical jabs give the wrong impression about the country." Oh, really. Many would say it hits the nail right on the head. The world watches.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

It's Tokyo 2020 not Fukushima 2020!

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

These are not meant to be funny as in rotfl funny, but they are meant to question the whole affaire. Does Japan have its priorities lined up? To all foreigners saying that this cartoon is made in bad taste...you're must be from north America, because Europeans are raised with this kind of satire and we don't think of it as funny or insulting. Japan should keep its nose out of other countries and stop playing the" poor us" card

14 ( +23 / -9 )

@Guillaume, Nicely put.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Here's an idea: fix the problem so there is no need to make cartoons about it. Japan better get used to being criticized because that comes with hosting the Olympics for every country.

14 ( +21 / -7 )

If there is is freedom of expression in Japan for weekly demonstrations calling for the mass murder of Koreans in Shin-Okubo (which Japanese politicians refused to condemn), then there should be freedom of expression for foreign satirical papers. It's not meant to be serious, the whole newspaper is filled with irony, jokes and satire.

43 ( +56 / -13 )

"Lighten up" Easy for them to say.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

If the government is confident in its claim that the situation is under control and will not cause harm to anyone, then some good-natured satire shouldn't be too offensive to them. As for it hurting the victims, first, according to the government, there are no victims of the nuclear disaster, at least not dead ones. Second, is Le Canard Enchaine a popularly read weekly in Tohoku?

18 ( +25 / -7 )

Don't they know the difference between slander and satire? I consider this lowbrow taste.but to Le Canard Enchaine, it's freedom of expression.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

This one of many Fukushima cartoons t that have been published since the disaster. They will continue to be published as long as the crisis exists and the government and Tepco's continue fouling up and trying the hide the truth. Get used to it.

9 ( +19 / -10 )

"One cartoon showed sumo wrestlers with extra limbs competing in front of a crippled nuclear plant."

While the French may have a point that Japan should lighten up, the above concept really shows what connards the French can be. It's not even funny.

-9 ( +25 / -34 )

"The government has repeatedly claimed the accident and its waste water problem are under control and should not affect the Olympics."

That is exactly their point! There IS a nuclear crisis!! And we will feel its consequence for years and decades to come!! Surely by the time the Olympics arrive we will still be talking about it!

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Lighten up, good morning and good day !

6 ( +14 / -8 )

"The importance of social harmony also discourages public ridiculing of others". Say that to the talento shows that children watch and copy every day.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

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