An online furor has broken out over a controversial illustration that depicts a refugee girl from Syria as a selfish freeloader, with some labeling the work, drawn by a conservative manga artist, as racist.

At the center of the controversy is an illustration depicting an unkempt girl with a wry smile. It is believed to be based on a real-life malnourished refugee who was forced to flee the war-torn country.

The background text in the illustration shows the girl's inner thoughts: "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.