The Japanese publisher of U.S. children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has lodged a protest with the country’s major Mainichi Shimbun daily against its running of a cartoon inspired by the book.
The cartoon by illustrator Shigi Yokota, titled “The Hungry IOC,” appeared on the economic page of Saturday’s morning edition.
It caricatured Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, and other IOC executives, depicting caterpillars with their faces biting “Olympic nuts” symbolizing the broadcasting rights for the Tokyo Games. A sentence saying “in remembrance of Eric Carle,” the author and illustrator of the classic children’s book, was attached. He died last month.
On Twitter, “how caricatures should be” in Japanese was trending at one point on Wednesday.
The Japanese publisher, Kaisei-Sha Publishing Co., posted a statement in the name of President Masaki Imamura on its official website Monday to express “a strong sense of discomfort.”
“The intention behind the caricature is apparent and it is not my place to lodge a complaint on their opinion given that they have the freedom of expression,” Imamura said in the statement. ” But I felt a strong sense of discomfort as publisher of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’ a picture book that has been cherished by many children.”
The statement said it was “totally inappropriate to satirize greed for money” by using the caterpillar featured in the book as a motif.
The book’s joy “lies in the endlessly healthy appetite of the caterpillar and children’s desire to eat and grow,” it pointed out.
A Mainichi Shimbun spokesperson said the cartoon was intended to satirize the bloated IOC and that the newspaper will sincerely take points that were pointed out to improve its content.
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