Coro Coro Comics Apologizes for Manga's Depiction of Genghis Khan
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The editorial staff of Shogakukan's Coro Coro Comics magazine issued an apology on Friday after a depiction of Mongol Empire founder Genghis Khan in the March issue created a public outcry. Mongolian residents of Japan and the Embassy of Mongolia in Tokyo issued complaints after the magazine's most recent issue shipped on February 15.
The issue's installment of Asumi Yoshino's Yarisugi!!! Itazura-kun children's gag manga features an image of Genghis Khan with fill-in-the-blank word spaces above his likeness. In the image, parentheses in which Genghis Khan's name may be written are instead filled in with a euphemism for "penis," and male genitalia are drawn over the Mongolian leader's face. The image appears to be related to an art contest for the manga that invites readers to draw humorous doodles over images of historical leaders.
Many online commenters, including Mongolian residents of Japan, viewed the image as inappropriate and offensive. Genghis Khan is seen as a revered hero among Mongolian people, and he is a symbol of national identity.
Asashōryū Akinori, a Mongolian former sumo wrestler and special ambassador to Japan, responded to the image on Twitter. He said, "I cannot forgive this!! Apologize!!" and similar remarks. The Embassy of Mongolia in Tokyo also officially denounced the depiction and posted a statement on its official Facebook page on Friday. The complaint described the depiction as "lacking morality" and said that it may violate Japan's laws protecting children from obscene images.
Coro Coro Comics' staff issued apologies both on the magazine's official website and as a letter to Dambadarjaa Batjargal, the temporary charge d'affaires of the Embassy of Mongolia in Tokyo, on Friday. The apology letter from Yasuyuki Sagami, director and board member of Shogakukan's comic department, and Makoto Wada, editor-in-chief of the magazine, was issued both in Japanese and English. The English version's full apology, as posted on the the Embassy of Mongolia in Tokyo's Facebook page on Friday, reads:
On behalf of Shogakukan Inc., we extend our sincerest apologies for the use of inappropriate expressions concerning Genghis Khan in the comic Yarisugi!!! Itazura-kun in the March issue of our monthly magazine "CoroCoro Comic." We recognize that the expressions regarding the founder of the Mongol Empire were disrespectful and offensive to the people of Mongolia and all who love and respect the Great Khan.
We are grateful that this issue was brought to our attention and humbly ask your forgiveness. In the future, we will further our knowledge of the history and culture of your country and make our utmost efforts to prevent the recurrence of such improper expressions.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Shogakukan released the second compiled book volume of Yarisugi!!! Itazura-kun on January 19.