Japan angered by French TV host's Fukushima joke about goalkeeper Kawashima


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Talk about sore losers, geez.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Well, yeah, not very funny but who is monitoring all the inappropriate jokes about other countries on Japanese TV? Nobody, right?

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Japan (in fact a number of Asian countries) are soooo thin skinned about this type of slightly off colour humour. Agree, no one is complaining about (unfunny) J TV "jokes" involving overt racism and ridicule of foreigners and their funny ways/accents/looks.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

When did Japanese TV hosts make jokes about tragedies that happened to other countries? I don't remember any Japanese TV host making a fun of the 911attack. Many innocent Japanese people suffered because of Tsunami and some of you think it's OK to laugh about it. Unbelievable. Japanese people have every right to get offended.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Readers, please do not attempt to turn this thread into a discusion on Japanese TV.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No they don't. This type of over-sensitivity is exactly why we see childish arguments about Yasukuni, Senkaku, Takeshima and numerous other trivial issues that are blown out of all proportion between Asian neighbours. The joke wasn't about the tragedy itself, was about the (humorous) fact that radiation may cause mutations.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

hinders efforts for reconstruction,

How, pray tell, does a joke on French television hinder your reconstruction efforts?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Using reference to people with birth deformities as a way to express their disappointment ( because Japan won France 1-0) demonstrates the callous immaturity, lack of respect for people with disabilities, and lack of true international sportmanship among the French persons involved in this sick parody.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Not a birth deformity. that's precisely the point. It is an obvious ridiculous joke as the keeper could never have had a birth deformity as he is already an adult. The kind of pedantic literal view taken by Japanese media is exactly what I was writing about above.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

After the BBC made jokes about "the unluckiest man on earth" that was the victim of allied bombings of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima I had a look at what sort of other jokes are made and it seems that in addition to their being at least a more direct joke about the bombings, there are dead Diana Prince of Wales jokes even seemingly televised and on web pages recently 9-11 jokes, and even a few Holocaust jokes from English language sources. A British historian writing about the opium wars used humour, despite their being described as the worst tragedy in history. I agree with genie22 that Japanese TV hosts do not, or are very unlikely to make such jokes, and if they did they would be repromanded, in Japan as far as I know, but it may be an aspect of European, especially anglophone culture to enage in black humour. Often I defend Japanese culture, as being Japanese culture. Perhaps Europeans should be allowed to endulge their culture of black humour. Or perhps not, since it could be argued that jokes dampens the empathy of those that make them, encourages others to distance themselves also, and if that impacts on charitable donations, "hinder reconstruction efforts".

-2 ( +4 / -6 )


refer to some comments above about the comparison between the two types of humour found on TV

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Absolutely tasteless joke in my opinion!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

AKBfan I still think that genie22 is right that Japanese comedians and announcers do not make fun out of suffering. They may parody accents, looks and beahviour but of people who are often seen as in a sense too un-suffering, to bring them down a peg. The brunt of Japanese jokes are those that don't see themselves as a joke, whereas the brunt of some British jokes are sometimes those who can't.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Aww boo-hoo. Toughen up little petals. If you want to play in the European leagues and get the big cash then you've got to be big enough to handle the gibes.

It does highlight Japanese sensitivity (complex) to how westerners view them

Exactly. The hypocrasy is breathtaking.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

This French joke has bad taste, as it is always, when some people are trying to make fun at the expense of the others.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Come on Japan, grow up will ya, you need to thicken that skin of yrs or yr going to start hemoraging!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

My view is different and I support the frustration of the Japanese officials.

Why? Because Kawashima was nicknamed Fukushima even in the first year he went to Belgium and that was offensive. Now the French TV also plays with the phonetic closeness of his name and the Fukushima disaster. Remember that all the world still sees Japan as wrongdoers who are spitting radiation all over the world.

So yes, it is sensitive issue for both Japanese government and for Kawashima. In Japanese terms this is ijime and not on school level between classmates but on international level.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Tasteless sure, but think of it this way that in many people's minds Japan = Radiation. The recent crisis only magnifies this narrow view. There's very little Japan can do about it.

If Japan on the other hand moves away from nuclear it may in future have these impressions relegated to history. Until then lighten up. Because it's going to happen again sometime somewhere

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The question is, are people offended because they think the remark is insensitive, or because it hits home a little too hard and they are embarrassed? I personally think it was a rather insulting remark to make, and a sign of poor losers, but soccer in particular is ALWAYS like that, and once again we are seeing how Japan needs to be more thick-skinned on the issue. Who cares what these jokers say?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Maybe tasteless, but just let analyze the joke.

I have not seen the game, but from it I understand Kawashima made an outstanding performance a normal human being could not do. I see a big praise here.

Then in the course of the action to make a joke, what could be a reason for this unbelievable performance? It must come from somewhere. With the recent stories of mutations around Fukushima, the link is quickly done.

This kind of joke must be taken with good distance and for me the key point made is that he is a great player.

By no mean this should trigger any diplomatic issues, neither it was a joke about people suffering from Fukushima disaster.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan has reacted angrily to a French television host

Oh? And who is/are Japan? Fujimura? Tanaka? They certainly do not represent all of Japan, so what I think is 'inappropriate' is the headline of this news story.

Ruquier is a satirical comedian and journalist very popular in France. [Some] people seem to enjoy jokes that do not target themselves but others. Personally I find his wisecrack on France 2 very cheap and in very bad taste. True humor is something that can be enjoyed by all and is not crude, offensive or insensitive. The joke about Kawashima did not meet these conditions. The French may have seen pictures and video and read about what happened at Fukushima, but the reality of it all to them is only virtual. Perhaps we should just ignore what these 'entertainers' come up with, as they don't know any better.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Smithinjapan: I believe it is worth to clarify the context of where and when the joke was made. This TV show is a weekly Saturday show where highlight of the week are discuss on a very very light manner.

Most of the people around the table most likely don't even bother about soccer. They are mostly tough to French stars and it was an ironic way to say that the French players should get a bit more humble in front of the Japan soccer team.

I have seen this show a few times, and believe me this joke will not stay at the Christmas Best Of. There are hundreds of much worse than this one about very sensitive matters or French public and politic personalities.

Hundreds of spontaneous jokes are made during the show - most of them borderline - and obviously not all of them can be good. But some of them are really hilarious.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There's nothing wrong with black humour, isn't it covered under freedom of speech? If the Japanese media (including JT) thinks this would be offensive to people in Japan, then why report it? I'm pretty sure most people living in Japan don't watch much French TV.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Hundreds of spontaneous jokes are made during the show - most of them borderline - and obviously not all of them can be good. But some of them are really hilarious.

I don't doubt it. But jokes recalling memories of extreme human tragedies are not borderline, they are way across the border and do not just call into question the judgment of those who made the 'jokes', if you can call them that, but also the whole network that spreads them and even all those who condone them under the guise of freedom of speech.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Many innocent Japanese people suffered because of Tsunami and some of you think it's OK to laugh about it.

The joke wasn't about the tsunami, the joke was about radiation leakage from Fukushima Daiichi causing extra arms to grow on the goalie - explaining his superiority in the "friendly". I don't know of ANYONE who jokes about the tsunami.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

presto345: I think narutal's post explains very well the cultural difference. A French joke can have the exact inverse meaning than at first reading. Just like when a japanese is saying a yes for a no...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This news wouldn't have been this big if this joke was made by a comedian. It is big because this remark was made in a state-run broadcasting station. There was a horrible joke that was made two days after the big earthquake in 2011, "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them." Has anyone ever heard Japanese government sent to US a letter of protest? No. Because he was just an actor. This might sound weird to some of you, but this is the point.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Umeco624: I think you do not get the point at all. First of all most of European TV are state-run broadcasting and have full freedom to run it.

In the French culture making jokes about horrible things (disaster, pedophile, murder, ...) is a historical way to talk about it, show empathy to the victims and assimilate it.

Nevertheless I admit this is a style that can hurt when not familiar with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For crying out loud, does the chief cabinet secretary and education minister really have to comment on this?

What of Governor Ishihara referring to foreign judoka as kedamono o kenka "brawling beasts" during the olympics this summer.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I think that was inappropriate, but that's just me. Maybe it was a backhanded compliment that the keeper played like he had four arms?

Now if the French had shown a TEPCO senior manager, with two heads, both up his double (and here we leave it to the imagination rather than offend) then that would have been appropriate.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Lack of respect shown by the French which doesn't surprise me from a country that strives on rudeness. Disgusting and inappropriate to make a joke about Fukushima and the tragedy which claimed so many lives.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It was a compliment. His performance was positively noted on the show. Japan is the country where a lot of"gene mutating monsters save the world"type of sub culture stories and manga originate, one of the most famous being a huge intelligent octopus raping pre-pubescent girls.

Oh, and at least the commenter is not the governor of Paris, and he did not claim that Japanese is an idiotic language because you can't count to ten in it...only to get himself reelected over and over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yea, it's a tough world. People say inappropriate things.

You can either toughen up and get used to it, or expect THE ENTIRE WORLD to be polite to you.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I was with Japanese clients in Germany on 11/3, when I returned to France saw the news and called them, everybody was shocked and saddened, worried because phone lines back home didnt work well and flights were delayed...but in France not many people cared, to them it's just another disaster far far away...some people made jokes about the chocolates I bought from Japan...if it doesn't happen to their country, their people, they can be rather cold/untouched about it. But a public figure joked about it is unacceptable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hahaha, if they would have shown him developing mutant superpowers like Monkey D. Luffy from the Fukushima fruit, then all would be A-OK!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's not France or the French people. It's just one I**ot which made a bad tasteless joke.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Don't you think it was actually a compliment (albiet given in a bad light) in that Kawashima is such a good keeper that it seems that he has four arms and is very hard to pass. Japanese humor is belting people on top of the head with their hands and French humor is as it is.........ok people move on nothing to see here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


If you spend some time up at Fukushima maybe you will grow somwe more fingers?

See, silly joke just like the French "comedian" told.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whatever. Nothing is offensive. We live in post-modern times, and if you can't get with the program, the rest of us are not going to wait for you to catch up.

Those who get offended by things like this, SHOULD be offended.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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