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Japan responds to ISIS threat with nationwide Photoshop battle

Japan's anime fans are not cowed by IS.


Kevin Collier


Posted on Jan 22, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 5:16 pm CDT

With Islamic State (IS) terrorists holding two of their countrymen hostage half a world away, Japan has figured out one way to strike back: making fun of the terrorists with a nationwide Photoshop battle.

Many of the thousands of tweets that use the hashtag for the movement, #ISIS?????????, are simply silly. Like turning IS’s Jihadi John and his two captives, journalist Kenji Goto and contractor Haruna Yukawa, into Minecraft characters:

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Or turning John’s head into a pumpkin image of comedian Hamada Masatoshi’s commonly memed face.

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Some are less refined, like this series of characters from the anime Love Live! thrown onto random terrorist images:

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Or John playing with sex toys:

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Or recasting Goto and Yukawa as anime heroes Goku from Dragon Ball Z and Luffy from One Piece:

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One gives both captives and John giant, walkie-talkie-like microphones, the kind used by the pop band Sekai no Owari in the song “Dragon Night.”

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Daily Motion

The lyrics to Dragon Night, by the way, include the line “tonight, we’ll sing almost as if we’re friends[…] tonight, our war will end.”

One puts John in a poster for the dystopian Psycho-Pass—and a pun, of course, calling the terrorist a psychopath.

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Many are silly at the outset, but get darker upon closer examination. Like this one, from a cooking show, which includes the text “today we’re going to have fun chopping.”

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Or replacing the captives with Chelsea from Akame Ga Kill and Mami from Madoka Magica, who are best known for being beheaded in their own shows:

And the situation is dark for Goto and Yukawa, despite the Internet’s fun at IS’s expense: John has said that he’ll murder both if he doesn’t receive $200 million from the Japanese government by late Thursday.

Correction: IS militants have demanded a ransom of $200 million from Japan.

Thanks to Aja Romano and Lauren Orsini for help identifying these characters. Any mischaracterizations are the author’s. H/T Radio Free Europe. Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Jan 22, 2015, 2:38 pm CST