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Manga artist removes illustration mocking Syrian refugee

by

Staff Writer

A manga artist behind a Facebook illustration labeling a refugee from Syria a selfish freeloader has taken it down at the request of a photographer who criticized her for distorting his work.

On her Facebook account Thursday, artist Toshiko Hasumi refused to apologize, claiming her illustration, based on a photo of a girl at a refugee settlement in Lebanon taken by Canadian documentary photographer Jonathan Hyams, did not constitute copyright infringement.

Hasumi, however, explained she deleted the illustration at Hyams’ request early Wednesday because “the fact remains I have caused him enormous trouble.”

“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.”

The illustration contains a thought bubble that says: “I want to live a safe and clean life, have a gourmet meal, go out freely, wear pretty things and luxuriate. I want to live my life the way I want without a care in the world — all at the expense of someone else.

“I have an idea. Why don’t I become a refugee?” it concludes.

Hasumi rejected accusations it was racist, claiming she did not seek to denigrate Syrians, she told The Japan Times.

Instead, she said, it was meant to ridicule economic migrants “pursing a safer, more comfortable life in a foreign land under the guise of pitiable asylum seekers.”

For his part, Hyams was quick to express shock at the illustration on Twitter: “Shocked + deeply saddened anyone would choose to use an image of an innocent child to express such perverse prejudice,” he said.

“What a shameful misrepresentation of the plight of the Syrian people,” he continued, adding the photo was taken for the independent charity organization Save the Children.

An online furor has broken out in response to Hasumi’s illustration, with the number of Change.org signatures calling on Facebook to recognize it as racism totaling more than 10,000 as of Thursday.

  • GBR48

    “Because unlike in Japan, you’re destined to lose in a court battle overseas once you’ve admitted to your fault.”

    Because in Japan you can be guilty, admit it and still get away with stuff? Not something to brag about.

    • http://www.themonsteratlas.com/ TheMonsterAtlas

      I have a feeling the author intended to mean: “Once you’ve apologized.”

  • Sean Detente

    Pity. Censorship does nobody any good, especially when this world trash dictates what you’re allowed what to say…and what not to say. Glad to see the liberals/progs/SJWs and other trash haven’t completely ruined Japan like every other first world country.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Nippon, don’t let these people in. You don’t owe refugees anything.

    • gouramiagogo

      Truly spoken like a moron not living in Japan.

    • JusenkyoGuide

      Censorship is those in power telling you what to say or not to say. This is people deciding that they don’t LIKE what you’re saying and showing you the door. You may want to learn the difference.

    • thedudeabidez

      Right, Japan has a declining population, with a social benefits system that is going to bankrupt itself unless they get more young people into the workforce. Immigration is the most sensible solution to that problem right now, since the birthrate sure isn’t climbing.

    • Toolonggone

      Like clueless Wall-Street funded GOP cheerleaders and pro-gun fanatics.

    • Chief Presiding Judge

      You do know the image was taken down, right? The Japanese people have spoken, and the reaction was clear.

      Secondly “sjw” is a meaningless buzzword used by immature children who have no desire to be taken seriously or to contribute to productive discourse. It’s also the common “slur” used by racists/sexists/MRAs and so on. It basically refers to anyone who doesn’t think like it’s 1860. Whenever I see someone say this I imagine a crying child.

  • Nihondaisuki

    Well done to this manga artist. She illustrated the thoughts of many of those making their way to Europe at the moment, while also giving a voice to the thoughts of those who are afraid to say anything for fear of being branded racist etc by those who are too quick to jump on the bandwagon of being “shocked and saddened” every time they encounter something that isn`t 100% politically correct. Well done!

    • JusenkyoGuide

      Says the man hiding behind the wall of anonymity on the comment section of the Japan Times. What’s a matter? Too afraid to stand up and fight the good fight, or are you too aware that your comments are indeed racist?

      • http://www.themonsteratlas.com/ TheMonsterAtlas

        Yes, and your legal name is JunsenkyoGuide ?

      • JusenkyoGuide

        I’m not the one claiming a silent majority status, too afraid to state what they REALLY think, am I?

      • http://www.themonsteratlas.com/ TheMonsterAtlas

        Neither is the person you’re accusing, so I don’t really see what your problem is with this.

      • JusenkyoGuide

        “while also giving a voice to the thoughts of those who are afraid to say anything for fear of being branded racist etc by those who are too quick to jump on the bandwagon of being “shocked and saddened” every time they encounter something that isn`t 100% politically correct.”

        He didn’t? Then what IS above?

      • Nihondaisuki

        I`m not racist, but I do believe in helping the genuine refugees, not the economic migrants. If you don`t want to distinguish between the two, that`s up to you. Some people do, like the manga artist, myself and others. She is highlighting the fact that there are plenty of economic migrants currently holding themselves out as genuine refugees, something that is still a bit too taboo to say at the moment.

    • KobayashiDamien TakijiLucas

      yeah,coz it takes real guts to make fun of migrants!

      • Nihondaisuki

        Well, it does take guts to point out that there are so many ECONOMIC migrants among the genuine refugees. When you point that fact out, you are lining yourself up for being branded racist. Pointing out facts shouldn`t get anyone branded as a racist, but somehow it does on this issue.

      • J Arbes

        It is racists, look at her views on Koreans on the issue of sex slaves by Japanese war crims. She is not even denying it so stop hiding your racist self under the robe of ‘pointing out fact’.
        Everyone knows that Japanese are racists; no arguement here. We just dont like it in our face.

      • Nihondaisuki

        Sure…whatever you say… just step away from the ledge.

    • http://ezfx.jp EZFX

      Yes, how courageous she is to attack and slander a little girl.

      • Nihondaisuki

        Slander relates to spoke words, “libel” is the word you`re looking for.

    • Gerardo Gallo

      I hate to say it, but I do not share 100 100 of what ‘you’ve written.
      I ONLY SHARE 99 100 OF WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN

    • Toolonggone

      Your argument is valid if only people ignore the fact that she used the Syrian girl for caricature to mock the refugees.

      • Nihondaisuki

        So, there are no economic migrants from Syria?
        From my point of view, she`s not mocking refugees. She`s highlighting that economic migrants with a strong sense of entitlement are blending in with genuine refugees. The furore that has followed shows that many people do not distinguish between the two.

      • Toolonggone

        That doesn’t change the fact that she used the Syrian girl for stunt. She couldn’t walk away from disingenuousness for free.

  • Ahojanen

    I think the retraction is sensible. I don’t really agree with this manga artist. But such “fake migrants” theme and public discourse are not at all unique. Also this is in a way the flip side of an image of a drown Syrian boy which raised public outcry and eventually forced EU officials to take 120,000 refugees in EU. I don’t like this sensational move if not nee-jerk reaction. We better stay a bit somber or reasonable.

    • Ine Chan

      The difference with this one is that she took example of a real photo of a girl (who wasn’t smiling the way she drew) and the things she wrote are very disrespectful. She doesn’t know that little girl, she doesn’t know what are her feelings or intention, if I was the mother or that child I would be pissed off that somebody took the photo of my child and made my little girl a “devil”. I understand people have many things to say about the Syrian refugees, but I think there are enough suffering in this world, did this artist really needed to do that ? That was just mean and disrepectful. To me there is just one rule, don’t target children, and please don’t use children. Did the little girl do any harm the her ? I just want to understand why so much hatred ? They only accepted 11 refugees in Japan it’s not a big deal. is Japanese society in danger because it welcomed 11 refugees ? What I personally learnt seeing refugees children is : I am lucky enough to not have lived what they are living, I had a home when I was a little girl, and that I am blessed and I try not to take for granted what I have. I hope they will be able to find their home someday.

      • Tim Johnston

        I agree with you Ine Chan

        It’s appalling to use an innocent little child and depict her like that. The parents should be pissed off if they saw that. Shameful and wrong in every way.

      • Gerardo Gallo

        …. the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency… I STRONGLY ACCEPT THIS LAW. If i i think, it’s extreme correct. you pay tax, you get benefits (but not 100*100). the taxes you (foreigner) pay more are the price that foreigners pay to have found a society where the tip is considered rude, a society where people do not walk armed, where people speak softly, a society where (the opposite of london new york rome, ecc ) you can walk quiet, day and night. Pease ask your self why australia new zeland sweden finland, austra, ecc don’t produce refugees. And why somalia nigeria siria bosnia , produces refugees. VIOLENT CULTURES PRODUCE REFUGEES. JAPAN TO DEFEND ITS CULTURE, DO NOT AGREE THE PRODUCTS OF A VIOLENT CULTURE The use of that girl is not correct, but the words used in the manga are not all fantasy . Is Japanese society in danger because it welcomed 11 refugees ?no, i don’t think . BUT if accepts 12, then the beautiful japanese society can ‘begin to be in danger

      • Ine Chan

        “But if accepts 12, then the beautiful Japanese society can begin to be in danger”
        It’s your choice if you want to live in fear, but I don’t , and I especially don’t fear children. And if you believe Japan is heaven on earth, and the west hell, good for you but still you seem funny to me.
        I hope you’re getting ready because soon will come aliens from another planet you will have to be apalled as well !

      • Ine Chan

        “But if accepts 12, then the beautiful Japanese society can begin to be in danger”
        It’s your choice if you want to live in fear, but I don’t , and I especially don’t fear children. And if you believe Japan is heaven on earth, and the west hell, good for you but still you seem funny to me.
        I hope you’re getting ready because soon will come aliens from another planet you will have to be apalled as well !

      • http://ezfx.jp EZFX

        I suggest you travel outside of Japan a bit. Perhaps even volunteer to assist refugees to gain some understanding and compassion. Your words tell me you are forming opinions and arguments based on stereotypes and supposition rather than life experience.

      • tisho

        Why are you expecting anything different? You are talking about people that have zero dignity, and zero respect for another human being, unless they are Japanese. Those same people mock and try to humiliate the few remaining sex slaves in their face in the most inhumane and absolutely disgusting way one can imagine, why would you be surprise that they would do the same for some refugee they couldn’t care less about? These people have advance stage of superiority complex and delusion syndrome.

  • montaigne1

    I hope Ms. Hasumi has to become a refugee herself someday.

    • JusenkyoGuide

      I don’t. The world has enough suffering without wishing it on others…

      • montaigne1

        Very true. This illustration and way of thinking just makes me so angry.

  • Brodie Taylor

    Shame on you Toshiko Hasumi. How dare you demonize human beings who are fleeing war. Everyone deserves to live a peaceful life, not just those who are privileged enough to be born in safe countries. You think refugees are selfish, but you’re the one who is selfish when you choose to ridicule refugees in order to further our own career with a transparent publicity stunt. You’re not an ‘artist’, you’re just an attention-seeker who slaps racist slogans onto the images you steal from others without permission. You couldn’t care less about this child, a child whose circumstances you know nothing about.

    • thedudeabidez

      The best reply to Hasumi’s hate is compassion: donating to the charity she stole the image from, Save The Children, or other charities on the ground trying to help Syrian refugees.

      • yakumoyuki

        this comment of yours,kind sir, i agreed.

    • Viktor Z

      Do I smell the usual US hypocrysm here? In Europe we already know that a large part of the so called traumatized refugees are just luck seekers who believe that they certain rights on housing and comfort etc. The amount of young men reminds us of the Hippie times in the sixties/seventies when Europe was ‘flooded’ by young American men send away on the account of mom and dad to avoid the draft for the Nam war…

      • Viktor Z

        have*

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    Anyone who thinks refugees are eating “gourmet meals” and wearing “pretty things” on benefits really must not be living on the same planet. Or Planet Japan, I guess, where there are next to no refugees admitted, so people like Hasumi have no actual experience with them, so instead create speculative stereotypes. Fact, the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency, so Hasumi’s argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  • thedudeabidez

    The whale meat photo Hasumi uses as her FB photo pretty much says it all. Her manga about duplicitous Koreans and how Japan “liberated” Asia in World War II are all too predictable.

  • milomonkey

    this girl created a hateful manga because she is just an ignorant and typical japan right winger.. who think they are saviour of asia during WW2 and they looked down on other asian nations as 2nd class.. disgusting… she should be boycotted…

    if japan wants to continue with militarism like what abe done to japan’s constitution, let them, it will be destroyed by natural disaster in the future anyway , and then we will see how other asian nations treated racist japanese refugees

    • Viktor Z

      It seems that you’re still suffering isn’t it?
      Reread the stupidity of your own post..you’re just projecting as you’re full of hate..:)

      • milomonkey

        and you are comfortable wallowing in the filth of racism and ignorance.. you sounded like a hurt troll , boy … go back to your video games..

  • Gerardo Gallo

    …. the Supreme Court in Japan declared last year that foreigners are not eligible for government welfare benefits, even taxpaying foreigners here on permanent residency… I STRONGLY ACCEPT THIS LAW. If i i think, it’s extreme correct. you pay tax, you get benefits (but not 100*100). the taxes you (foreigner) pay more are the price that foreigners pay to have found a society where the tip is considered rude, a society where people do not walk armed, where people speak softly, a society where (the opposite of london new york rome, ecc ) you can walk quiet, day and night. Pease ask your self why australia new zeland sweden finland, austra, ecc don’t produce refugees. And why somalia nigeria siria bosnia , produces refugees. VIOLENT CULTURES PRODUCE REFUGEES. JAPAN TO DEFEND ITS CULTURE, DO NOT AGREE THE PRODUCTS OF A VIOLENT CULTURE

    • http://ezfx.jp EZFX

      We get it. You hate foreigners and don’t want them in Japan to sully your precious Japanese-only society. How original you are.

      • Gerardo Gallo

        at first , i am italian, and not japanese. I also, like other foreigners i had been denied to access to some bars (japanese only). but I never thought it was racist. because if you think about it, when you are at your home, and invite people, normally you invite these people in the living room and not in the bedroom. you invite people in your bed room only if there is full respect of each other’s cultures. I have no right to come into your bedroom.
        even if i am your neighbor for over 10 years. I HAVE TO EARN YOUR CONFIDENCE. it,s not a right to enter in your home. As i told before, the use of a innocent girl for that manga is not nice. : but if you don’t have money i can give you some money, but i can’t be forced to let you enter in my house. it’s not a question of racist, but only a question of privacy

    • Chief Presiding Judge

      This is objectively false. As a foreigner in Japan I can actually get better health insurance than I can in my own country as a US citizen.

      The national healthcare in Japan allows anyone to enroll, it’s cheap and affordable, and you can actually get in trouble for NOT enrolling if you’re living there long term.

      >Pease ask your self why australia new zeland sweden finland, austra, ecc don’t produce refugees.

      They do. Europe produced tens of millions of migrants and refugees during WW2.

    • Chief Presiding Judge

      This is objectively false. As a foreigner in Japan I can actually get better health insurance than I can in my own country as a US citizen.

      The national healthcare in Japan allows anyone to enroll, it’s cheap and affordable, and you can actually get in trouble for NOT enrolling if you’re living there long term.

      >Pease ask your self why australia new zeland sweden finland, austra, ecc don’t produce refugees.

      They do. Europe produced tens of millions of migrants and refugees during WW2.

    • yakumoyuki

      k..

    • Toolonggone

      So ironic this poster finds himself in an awkward position that resonates with Fox News anchors on immigration.

  • Nena

    Well, author has a point. It is a hyphened one here, because it’s art, it’s kind of artistic sarcasm. Obviously, not everyone gets it. You know, from another point of view, it feels like a shame when refugees come to your country and get monthly funds twice as the minimum wage in that country, and most people who are citizens don’t earn the amount of money that is going to be spend per one refugee. So, situation can be compared to a child, whose parents spoil the orphaned child they adopted, while kind of not caring about their own biological child. I hope, at least, such comparison can be understood. Also, most “refugees” coming are economic refugees, not war refugees, so let’s see for what it really is – we cannot generalize easily. Just, would be nice to have a system to filter out the economic ones from the real ones.

  • Let’s chill.

    A racist Japanese? That’s unheard of.

  • Chief Presiding Judge

    Kudos to the Japanese people on a switch reaction to this. It was nice to see the Japanese people come together with such a large petition.

  • Let’s chill.

    How many Syrian refugees are going to Japan that making this an issue for this lady? Also not sure just tracing around a picture and writing some words shows any artistic talent.

  • skattan

    A quick look at Hasumi’s Facebook page shows that she is an uyoku with minimal artistic talent trying to get the attention she so desperately seeks by making unfounded, malicious, racist comments.

  • lwavesurfer

    A mangaka should stay drawing manga. If you can’t say something nice, you better shut your damn mouth!

  • onioyaji

    The sentence “Why don’t I become a refugee?” in this article, which can be translated into Japanese as “難民になろう!” is not an appropriate translation for the original Japanese, “難民しよう!” Native speakers of Japanese would notice “難民しよう” in the illustration is not a common Japanese expression and that the manga artist uses this phrase to try to mean, “I’ll pretend to be a refugee.” I don’t think the artist meant to label the girl of the photo, who must be a true refugee, a selfish freeloader.