Japan responds to ISIS threat with nationwide Photoshop battle

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

Kevin Collier

Kevin Collier

A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.