Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Hayao Miyazaki labels ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoons ‘a mistake’

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Political cartoons | Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki said in a Japanese radio interview that it was a “mistake” for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. “For me, I think it’s a mistake to make caricatures of what different cultures worship,” he said when asked about the January attack on the magazine’s offices that left 12 dead. “It’s a good idea to stop doing that.” Miyazaki reportedly said cartoonists should use caricature to target their own country’s politicians. “”It just looks suspect to go after political leaders from other countries,” he explained. [Kotaku]

Rajinder Puri

Rajinder Puri

Passings | Indian editorial cartoonist Rajinder Puri has died at age 80. A self-taught artist, Puri worked for the U.K. newspapers The Guardian and the Glasgow Herald in his 20s, then returned to India, where he became the cartoonist for Hindustan Times and The Statesman. Puri became active in politics himself during the Emergency of 1975-77, when then Prime Minster Indira Gandhi suspended elections and curtailed civil rights. Puri’s editor had already been told that Puri should be “a little less vicious” in his treatment of Gandhi, and when she declared the Emergency, he left cartooning and became a founding member of a new political party. He eventually returned to cartooning, however. Puri was a self-taught artist, and his colleague E.P. Unny writes, “Last decade, when Photoshop became the flavour of the newsroom, he mastered the graphic software in his own unorthodox way, which would have made a trained professional squirm. But he chipped and chopped with ‘the blessed mouse’ to tone, colour and texture his drawings as passionately as a cub cartoonist.” [The Indian Express]

Robert Moses

Robert Moses

Creators | Artist Christian Balez, who lives in Santiago, Chile, talks about the challenge of illustrating Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City, which was originally published in French and will be released here later this year by NBM. [Co.Design]

Comics | Reed Beebe celebrates Presidents Day with a look at Prez, a DC Comics series about a teenage president that lasted just four issues, but popped up again in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. The concept is being revived once more by creators Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell as part of DC’s post-Convergence plans. [Nothing But Comics]

Captain Marvel Jr.

Captain Marvel Jr.

Comics | Scott Edelman posts some World War II-era comics ads in which Captain Marvel Jr. urges readers to recycle their scrap paper — which may explain why some of those comics are so rare. [Scott Edelman]

Comics | Kevin Garcia marks Valentine’s Day with a roundup of superhero romances. [Paste]

Conventions | Henry Barajas files a thorough report on the Amazing Arizona Comic Con, with lots of photos and an account of his encounters with a dealer who was apparently selling unauthorized reproductions. [The Beat]

Digital comics | Gary Tyrrell picks up on a story that’s significant for digital comics creators, the implement of the new VAT regulations for European customers, and notes that Gumroad is handling all the details for creators that use that service. [Fleen]



Sometimes a great creator is very short sighted, charlie’s cartoons target everyone or everything,
What a shame mr miyazaki…

ghost of the river

February 17, 2015 at 8:22 am

its short sighted to think that everyone should not be persecuted, bullied and abused for anything?
people need to leave people the hell along instead of degrading what others hold dear, it used to be called hate speech now its satire.

Actually I agree with the wonderful and wise Mr. Miyazaki that religions should not be disrespected. No matter how wrong they seem to you, they are a whole world and a way of living for somebody else, giving them hope and faith in ways not apparent. No good comes from disrespecting religions. Especially now when every criticism that has to be made has been made and people who want to remain faithful will remain so regardless.

and I think proud Japanese history and heritage shouldn’t be paraded about by a fucking rabbit.

@xx: Totoro is not a rabbit. He is the mighty King of the Forest! And Miyazaki never intended for the character to “parade” the entire Japanese history and heritage. His movies have been the most respectful of Japanese culture and traditions. Saying otherwise is like saying the Narnia books are an insult to Christianity.

While I believe that Miyazaki is dead wrong, I think no less of him for his comment. It’s fairly normal for a “shame society” like Japan to nurture a culture of “self-responsibility”, often siding with the aggressor by way of blaming the victim for their own behaviour causing their demise. On the other hand, he probably feels the same way about western “guilt” societies.

@PorkPiePusher: Yeah, asking someone to be more respectful of all cultures is the same as shaming young women over their rights to control their own bodies and what not.

Roquefort raider

February 17, 2015 at 9:09 am

Mr. Miyazaki’s opinion that it is “a mistake to make caricatures of what different cultures worship” means he can stop working right now and we can all stop reading comics, because some cultures view *any* kind of image as sinful. The Bamiyan buddhas are gone because of such a view.

There is no such right as the right to never be offended. There will always be things that we find distasteful and even insulting. When these things fall into hate speech (the actual incitation to do harm to others), it is a proper thing to stop the perpetrators; when they do nothing more than show disrespect, they should be ignored or countered by a similar offence, if one feels like indulging in a shouting match.

Hello Ghost of the river ( I love your name)
in France, we have the right to practice religion AND we have something called the right of blasphemy…so I think what Miyasaki said tend to justify the killing of people who were drawing cartoons!!!
IT IS a shame.

ghost of the river

February 17, 2015 at 9:50 am

you can agree the cartoons are horrible and morally wrong to make and still never ever ever think that killing the creators is justified in a million years.

“You outsiders keep out of our culture!” has been used to justify plenty of atrocities. But… “We need to barge in to enlighten you folks” also has been used to justify plenty of atrocities.

Religion has been used to justify plenty of atrocities, and atheist philosophies also have.

We humans have a wonderful ability to come up with plenty of justifications for atrocities.Everything under the sun has been used, one time or another, to justify atrocities. Or, to be more charitable, ambitious, power-hungry men come with the justifications. Most of us ordinary blokes just want to live our lives in peace.

There are well-intentioned people on both sides of this argument, and also crooks on both sides.

Sorry jeez but I don t hate people and your information about France are somewhat strange, are you watching too much fox news?

I think many are conflating two issues here. The first issue is whether or not religious satire should be protected speech (which you can certainly have a spirited debate about).

And, the second, concerns the Charlie Hebdo tragedy itself. Whether you believe those cartoons are offensive or not is irrelevant to the fact that a dozen individuals were MURDERED because of them.

This is where Mr. Miyazaki is wrong. Essentially, blaming the victims for making a “mistake” that precipitated their own murder. I would think most rational people would agree that the blame should go squarely on the two terrorists, not on the satirists. Murder should never be an acceptable response to a perceived offense.

@Etain: I don’t think Mr. Miyazaki is condoning the murders or excusing the perpetrators in any way. He’s just saying the caricatures were in poor taste.

Miyazaki didn’t blame the victims for their own murder.

I totally agree with miyazaki and i respect him more now (not that i didn’t before :) ) as for those who disagree with him, in a way they’ve promote acceptance of hate, bullying, discrimination and ultimately violence. The time we all have the mindset of miyazaki which is to respect one another, i fear we will never see peace.


1. People were murdered for publishing “disrespectful” cartoons.

2. Famous cartoonist publicly states that publishing those cartoons was a mistake that should be stopped.

Either Miyazaki is completely unaware of point 1, in which case it’s fair to say he’s speaking in ignorance, or he IS condoning the murders. There really is no nuance here whatsoever.

I applaud Miyazaki-san for his CHARLIE HEBDO stance. It comes from a pov represented in his films, and from what he saw in his life of wars and peace in the world. As an artist of many great films and stories., I repect his opinion.

This is a man who stopped going to the U.S. for years over its invasion of Iraq, and the actions of its President. I count myself honored in being in Hall H when he finally broke the boycott and appeared to answer John Lassetter’s questions.

And I respectfully think that he is wrong in this regard.

Yesterday, I left my keys in the ignition of my motorbike while I went inside to shop. Nobody stole my bike, and if they DID steal it, that person would certainly be in the wrong. But it was a mistake to leave my keys in the ignition.
Or maybe lets go to a closer but less personal analogy. The art piece “Piss Jesus” certainly offended a lot of people. I believe, even as a Buddhist, that it was done in poor taste. That’s the type of “mistake” may have been talking about depending on the translation. Depending on what word he said, he could have meant something else, like “careless” or “faux pas.”

Have you heard say hayao supports such attack against Charlie Hedbo? the truth is that I do not, people get defensive, he is giving his opinion as to the work of such artists

I see it absurd and double standard to talk about Charlie Hedbo and freedom of expression, beyond the issue of the attack, Charlie Hedbo was fucking hypocrite when it came to freedom of expression, some of these artists were even xenophobic, besides mentioning that two of its artists were dismissed after making a caricature about Jewish religion, and today you can be sue or even they can arrest you if you make a crude parody of the incident, anyway… It sucks that these artists were killed by some drawings, but really, not everyone is a fucking cute chubby angel, people have bad things as good too

Jefferson Tester

February 18, 2015 at 9:06 am

I am a Christian, an artist and a proponent of free speech. Everyone has their “sacred cow,” and everyone needs to realize that not everyone is going to feel guilty over criticizing someone else’s. While most people will get offended by such things(using me as an example: the Pis* Christ, Ofili’s ‘Holy Virgin Mary’, and, sometimes, even Charlie Hebdo (gasp)) That said, killing someone is never a good way to deal with this issue. Now, as a Christian, I would find, for myself, that mocking someone else’s religion is a disrespectful and immoral thing to do. Even if I were trying to proselytize someone, I would not make light of their religion. In that sense I can agree with Hayao that it is a mistake, but only in the sense that it violates my personal principles. It is not a mistake in the sense that someone should ever, ever, ever have to think that saying or drawing something (regardless of the nature of it) warrants a threat to my well-being or my life. I’ll finish with the following statement, the reason free speech is/should be protected is not to protect the inoffensive stuff that no one needs to hear; it is there to protect the hard hitting (aka:offensive) stuff that EVERYONE should hear.

@V & @David –
Perhaps Mr. Miyazaki did not intend to blame them for their own murder, but in the context of the question concerning his thoughts on the attack he definitely made the connection between their “mistake” and the attack itself. I have not heard the entire interview so it is entirely possible he further clarified his statement. However, the fact that Mr. Miyazaki classified the Charlie Hebdo satirists as making a “mistake” is telling. As translated, he doesn’t use the words “it was in poor taste” or “offensive”. So, unintentionally or not, he indirectly condoned the attack.

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