the refugee crisis – in Japanese

Refugee crisis – save the children

今日、私の頭は、ある「人種差別的」だと言われる日本の漫画イラスト画像のことで一杯だった。最初は、ジョー・サッコ(Joe Sacco)のような”天才的な”アーティストが描くような差別的な描写なのだろうと思っていたが、その漫画イラスト画像は、明らかに元の写真では笑みを浮かべていない少女がベースになっていた。だがイラストの方では、ニヤつくような描写があった。これは何か独特なスタイルなのかと思っていた。

My attention was drawn today to a Japanese manga image which had been described as “Racist”. I thought initially it was no more racist than something by the brilliant artist Joe Sacco, though the manga picture is based on a young girl who is clearly not smiling in the original photo. There is, though, a hint of a smirk in the manga. I assumed this was style or something.


The original image is at the bottom of this blog


Later, I saw an article about this which translated the Japanese text and I was appalled. So much so that I have re-drawn the image and added my own text here:

Refugee girl_jpn translated

Screen shot 2015-10-12 at 20.05.57



In Glasgow, the Scottish MP Humza Yousaf regularly talks about welcoming Refugees.

グラスゴー(スコットランド)では、スコットランド議会のハムザ・ユサフ(Humza Yousaf)議員がよく、難民を歓迎すべきだと主張している。


It seems to me that this is our moral duty and our responsibility as a civilized country. More than that, we must ensure that the Referendum on the EU does not get bogged down, as was the last election, by a debate on immigration. The refugee crisis is set to continue for many years whether we are in or out of Europe and we will miss the opportunity to effect major change and reform in Brussels, or indeed to quit the EU project and forge alliances across Europe independently.


私たち [欧州市民]は、(1)差別主義者や偽善者に議論を支配させてはならず、(2)戦争の被害者に対する適切な対応を主導し、(3)救いを求める人びとに対して常にオープンでなければならない、ということなのである。

1) We cannot allow racists and bigots to hijack the debate. 2) we need to lead the way in promoting a proper response to the victims of war. 3) our doors must always be open to people in need.


This is what the original advert said in Japanese apparently:

“I want to live a safe and clean life, eat gourmet food, go out, wear pretty things, and live a luxurious life… all at the expense of someone else,” reads the text on the illustration above. “I have an idea. I’ll become a refugee.”



The artist, Toshiko Hasumi removed the picture after a campaign by a It is the text that really causes offence here, rather than the image. But once the text is clear, the image itself takes on a new identity- the girl is too aware, she smirks too much. It is deeply disrespectful.




“But I will not apologize no matter what,” she said. “Because unlike in Japan, you’re destined to lose in a court battle overseas once you’ve admitted to your fault.”


She went on to say that the image was an attack on economic migrants who are “pursing a safer, more comfortable life in a foreign land under the guise of pitiable asylum seekers.”


The photographer said it was a “shameful misrepresentation of the plight of the Syrian people” and that he was “Shocked + deeply saddened anyone would choose to use an image of an innocent child to express such perverse prejudice,”


Japan will not accept Syrian refugees but has pledged $810 million to aid refugees from Syria and Iraq. Of 5000 asylum seekers who applied last year, Japan accepted 11.


This is a start and I know many of my Japanese friends are keen to see more done to help in the crisis. Also, of course, Japan is right to support the countries most affected.

Toshiko Hasumi, however, has a record of questionable behaviour and has apparently written fairly negatively about Korean women who came to Japan especially during the 2nd World war.

Thank God there has been outrage about this in Japan!

(here is another Japanese counter-image)

Screen shot 2015-10-12 at 20.07.21

Original post by: Tim Wilson

Translated by: Office BALÉS

Meanwhile here is another image that I am working on – The owl and the pussycat, having travelled in the Pea-green boat for so long, seek sanctuary in the land where the bong tree grows.

I am a bit cautious about using the image of the small girl, even in an attempt to refocus the debate or to undo the nastiness of the original. I think this debate should have its own mascot. Any ideas welcome!

campaign 1528a

owl and cat full flat

Reprinted from other posts on the internet:

Screen shot 2015-10-12 at 19.53.17

Screen shot 2015-10-12 at 19.55.24


Author: timewilson

animator director and teacher

One thought on “the refugee crisis – in Japanese”

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