Yesterday, a video allegedly uploaded by ISIS demanded that the Japanese government pay $US200 million for two hostages. In it, a cloaked man waving a knife told the Japanese people to pressure their government to pay or the men would die. Online, the country's Twitter users have responded. With a meme.
The political reality here is very, very grim. One of the captured men, Haruna Yukawa, went to the Middle East, after his life in Japan fell apart. The other man, journalist Kenji Goto Jogo, went to Syria to get him out. Previously, however, Jogo said, "If anything happens, I take full responsibility."
With a deadline ticking away, many Japanese Twitter users have decided to stand up against the ISIS demands that they pressure their government and, as The Japan Times reports, have decided to "mock" the terrorists.
A Photoshop meme under the hashtag "ISIS Crap Photoshop Grand Prix" (#ISISクソコラグランプリ) was created. Note that this is similar to the hashtag used for other Photoshop memes, such as the one last year for Final Fantasy XV. Meanwhile, popular site Naver Matome has been doing roundups of these ISIS 'shops.
Other Twitter users have noticed too, writing:
Many Japanese blogs, including popular site My Game News Flash, are reporting how the glib Photoshops have allegedly angered ISIS members.
The gravity of this situation cannot be stressed enough. Two men's lives are on the line. They could die. As noted on Togetter, there are certainly Japanese Twitter users who find the Photoshop meme "imprudent".
With some of the Photoshops, it's unclear if people are simply making light of the situation. In others, it does appear that they are poking fun at ISIS. The concern, obviously, is that people might seem too light-hearted about the lives of these men. Or perhaps, they're using humour to resist being controlled through fear?
What is clear, however, is that there are some Twitter users refusing to bow down to demands that they pressure the Japanese government to pay up. For now, that is.