Jojo's Anime, Manga Sales Halted Due to Islamic Images (Updated)
posted on by Egan Loo
The Japanese publisher Shueisha and the anime production company A.P.P.P. have halted shipments of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure anime and manga after online Islamic protesters objected to imagery in the anime that they deemed offensive. In particular, a scene in the sixth anime episode ("The Mist of Vengeance") depicts the main villain, Dio, vowing to kill the main character Jōtarō Kujō while looking at pages of the Qur'an, the main religious text of Islam.
The original scene in the manga's Part 3 ("Stardust Crusaders," pictured at right) has unintelligible scrawls in the book. However, the animators put reproductions of pages from the Ar-Ra'd (The Thunder) chapter of the Qur'an in the corresponding scene in their version. The Kyodo News agency cited Sheikh Abdul Hamid Al-Atrash, chairman of the Fatwa Committee at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, as saying, "The scene depicts Muslims as terrorists."
Shueisha posted a Japanese statement about the issue and a English letter to the "Muslim audience of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" on Thursday. In both documents, Shueisha and A.P.P.P. explained that the anime staffers added Arabic text to the book to indicate the scene's apparent location in the Arabic world. However, the same staffers were illiterate in Arabic and did not realize that they chose pages from the Qur'an. The two companies acknowledged that they were also unaware of the issue until recently, and emphasized that manga author did not know that the anime staffers added pages from the Qur'an. The Japanese statement asserted that the story's setting is fantasy, and is not intended to depict Islam or Muslims. Both documents offer the companies' "sincere apology to Muslims for the incidents."
The companies said that they are reviewing the entire anime series and the original manga for any other potentially offensive scenes. They specifically noted that both versions depicted "buildings that look like mosques" in fight scenes. After halting shipments of the anime and manga to ensure both versions "will no longer contain these improper scenes," the companies also said that they "will not make new copies without correcting these problems." The manga began serialization in 1987, and the original anime video at the center of the controversy was first released in 2001.
In 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons with images of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, including one with a bomb as his turban. The resulting protests led to riots and more than 100 deaths in countries across the Middle East and elsewhere.
Thank you to dormcat and Kumi Kaoru for background research.
Update: Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses novel, was found murdered by an unknown person in 1991 after Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for the death of Rushdie over this book in 1989. A manga called Allah-kun was published in 1969, but has not been republished in over a decade. It is no longer listed in almost any Japanese bookseller. Thanks, mrsatan.