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North Korean missile alert manga produced by Hokkaido government office

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

On Sept 15, residents in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido found themselves underneath the flight path of a missile launched by North Korea.

This was the second time a missile from North Korea had flown over Hokkaido this year, following the launch two weeks earlier on 29 August. Japan’s J-Alert warning system was activated on both occasions, with sirens from loudspeakers, alerts on phones and emergency broadcasts on television waking residents in the early hours of the morning.

While the warning system was sent out to residents, many of them could do little more than wait and hope that the missile would pass over them without incident. Japanese governments, however, are pressing for residents to do more to protect themselvesin the event of an impending disaster.

To help educate residents about the precautions they should take when the J-Alert warning system sounds, the Hokkaido Prefectural Government recently created a colourful manga, which has been released to the public as a digital pamphlet on their official website.

The first page of the four-page comic depicts a morning like any other morning, as six different characters begin their day with a number of scenarios. There’s a tired young woman trying to sleep in, a businessman leaving for work, an elderly woman sipping tea at home, a young woman going for a morning run, a farmer working the fields, and a seaman out at sea. In an instant, though, everything changes for these characters as a missile is launched and the J-Alert system is broadcast via numerous channels.


The comic goes on to say that once the J-Alert system is issued, the actions you take in the next few minutes are important. Alongside each scenario in the comic is a female character who brings various important “points” to the reader’s attention. If you are at school, for example, you should protect yourself by getting under the desks and following the teacher’s instructions.


The actions you take depend on where you are at the moment the alert is issued. If you’re in a park, or outdoors, take shelter inside the nearest building. If there are no buildings around, take cover by kneeling down low and covering your head with your hands.


If you’re out in a field with nothing else around you, move away from vehicles and get down on all fours on the ground, covering your head with your hands.

If you’re out at sea, or outdoors at a place where you can’t take refuge, take actions to protect your body by covering your head, and find as shaded an area as possible.

If you’re indoors, it’s best not to go outside. Instead, stay away from windows and cover your head with a cushion. The panel at the bottom right corner of this strip shows a mother running to the nearby evacuation centre with her emergency bag, but according to these instructions – and the daughter who pulls at her skirt, saying “Mum, calm down!” – this is something you’re advised against doing.


If you’re in the car, find a place to stop, like the carpark of a supermarket, and get away from the vehicle. The comic tells us that cars are filled with flammable gasoline, so it’s best to get out of the car and stay away from vehicles, while taking refuge in the shade of a big building and avoiding big walls of glass.


While the content of these comics is unsettling, people in Japan have long been taught to prepare for disasters like earthquakes and typhoons, so presenting this public service information in comic form is a clever way to get everyone’s attention.

The artist who drew the comic, Manabu Yamamoto, is a Hokkaido-born illustrator who previously worked with the local prefectural government on a crime prevention pamphlet which was distributed to 1,000 elementary schools.

Yamamoto also shared his J-Alert comic on Twitter with his followers, receiving a strong response from people online, who retweeted it 35,000 times.

One thing to note, though, is this response from a fellow Twitter user, who says that people should not lie with their stomachs flat on the ground when outside in these types of situations, as the shock from a blast can rupture organs. This is exactly what happened to someone their mother knew during Word War II.

To find out more about how to protect yourself when the J-Alert is issued, head to the Hokkaido Prefectural government website, where you can print off a copy of the comic, which can be downloaded as a PDF. The local government is encouraging everyone to share the manga strips with family and friends, to help spread the word and increase public awareness in the case of another event.

Source: Hokkaido Prefectural Government via Net Lab

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- North Korea launches missiles over Japan, activating J-Alert warning system

-- North Korea-U.S. tensions spark interest in Japanese government’s J-Alert warning system

-- The “doya-gao” phenomenon and where you’re most likely to see it

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Why make it a manga? Can't anything be taken seriously here? Is manga the only thing Japanese will read?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Can't anything be taken seriously here?

This is suggesting you put a pillow on your head to protect you from a nuclear bomb, I don't think anyone would take it seriously.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is a serious issue. Why use manga? Let's grow up a bit please. Manga for kids, I understand but why treat adults like babies? And let's add some realistic to it. "Cover your head with your hands" How on earth would this protect you from missile parts falling from the sky? If outside, I'd have a better change hugging a tree.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Somewhere in there it probably says "And don't forget to support your local LDP candidate." If it doesn't, someone probably forgot to slip it in.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Systemic infantilisation. Put a pillow on your head when an H-Bomb is detonated? How about crossing your fingers and wishing on a star?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Haha, get under a rickety wooden desk or lie on the ground outside?! Are you people for real? We are talking THERMONUCLEAR KILOTON EXPLOSIONS here ffs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Even the largest hydrogen bomb ever designed wouldn't obliterate Hokkaido and the ones likely possessed by North Korea (250kt) have a limited damage potential. Roughly a 7-8km diameter urban area could be mostly wiped out, but for anything beyond this getting under tables and covering yourself with something soft would make a huge difference if windows are blown in by shockwaves or debris. The US used cartoons to promote safety routines (which, by the way, were the same as the ones suggested here).

On one side people in these comments criticize Japan for being all doom and gloom about the likelyhood of an attack, but then suddenly they're too light hearted?

I don't think there's any point in painting a too dark picture, especially as children are the most important group to get through to and there is little sense in traumatizing them unecessarily.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If a nuke goes off in your area, unless you're in a hardened shelter, your survival is really just a matter of chance.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan sends text alerts warning of missile launch - JT posters say Japan is overreacting and causing unnecessary alarm and shouldn't even worry

Japan releases illustrated guidelines on what to do in the event of a missile launch - JT posters say Japan is not taking the issue serious enough

I don't even think Trump supporters could match such cringeworthy hypocrisy

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think the manga is a good idea just think of it as an illustrated brochure. This is a really good article to give some of us an idea of the situation surrounding the NK missile testing. The testing of NK missiles in this manner is unacceptable and harmful to ones peace of mind in the areas where these missiles have flown by.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The missile was in space, 770km. With elections dooming, oops, I meant looming, NK eating all our babies will be the only news. Kobe steel will be gone, Abe's troubles gone, three arrows fail gone, women's rights gone, Fukushima gone....stay tunes to the same NK channel, at the same NK time, and hey folks, why not pop down and say a big thank you, to the big guy at your local polling booth...or North Korea will get you!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Magnus. How about researching thermo nuclear bombs, especially those in easy range of Tokyo.

I built a shealter, have food water and gas. Toilet, candles etc. if you understand the threat and are prepared, you will survive. A total meltdown, fire, radiation and all electrical devises destroyed is not like a typhoon. No fire engines or ambulances. No cars or trains. No lighting or heating. No hospitals. Think a minute. 7km is an atomic bomb. Thermonuclear will effect Japan nationwide even if the epicenter is only Kanto. Don't downplay the threat.

abe only upplays it for votes, but he has never once told the consequences to the Japanese citizens if he pushes NK to the brink.

NK is watching the Iran situation. They may just decide, they have no choice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, hype.  L'il Kim will never fire a missile with intent to hit Japan.  no point.

Nevertheless it is about time we had an anti-missile Mascot/kigurumi of some kind.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I built a shealter, have food water and gas. Toilet, candles etc.

So you wouldn't go to a public shelter? I suppose you're one of the lucky ones with a garden big enough to build a bomb shelter in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Manga? Seriously? Stop treating people like babies.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Manga is not just for children in Japan. It is a culturally acceptable literature that all ages read. This particular manga is akin to the safety cards on airplanes. It is a way of conveying safety measures to all ages. It is as accesible to small children as it is to adults. In a way, it shows the government is taking the safety of ALL their citizens more seriously than if they had published the same instructions as a pamphlet. (Keep in mind that Japanese is one of the hardest languages to read- it is not phonetic. So pictures help demonstrate safety procedures to those who don't have an adult reading level.)

While putting a pillow on your head won't help in the case of nuclear attack, having some thing to do and feeling "in control" of your situation WILL prevent mass hysteria during alarms like the ones Japan has previously experienced. It will prevent people from getting trampled in crowds or running blindly out into traffic in an attempt to reach a safety point when the alarms go off.

No one knows how to protect entire cities against nuclear attack. But the fact that the government is trying to give people a way to go about their daily life without suffering constant crippling fear, says a lot about how "grown up" they are.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GoodlucktoyouOct. 19 02:18 pm JST@Magnus. How about researching thermo nuclear bombs, especially those in easy range of Tokyo.

A 100KT bomb is the same whether it's a plain old nuke, a hydrogen bomb or even the 100 000 tons of TNT. KT rating is an estimate of its power (in terms of equivalent power in tons of TNT), not the physical size. Obviously there would be nationwide effects, but not in the form of blast damage or strong radiation. A bomb in in Sapporo would have zero direct effects on Tokyo, or even on most of Hokkaido itself, depending on prevailing winds.

Additionally it isn't confirmed that NK even has a hydrogen bomb, let alone that this is bomb they are capable of delivering with a missile.

Good luck with your shelter, I would stock up on respirator filters though unless you intend to sit there for a few years!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Roughly a 7-8km diameter urban area could be mostly wiped out

So pretty much all of downtown Sapporo.

The missiles are flying nothingburgers. A warhead would be something else entirely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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