Hayao Miyazaki Calls Charlie Hebdo Cartoons A 'Mistake'

Hayao Miyazaki Calls Charlie Hebdo Cartoons a

Last month, the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo were attacked, leaving 12 dead. Recently, however, famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki said he believes the French paper's Muhammad cartoons were a "mistake".

In a TBS radio interview, Miyazaki discussed the shooting, which took the lives of several of France's most famous satirical cartoonists.

"For me, I think it's a mistake to make caricatures of what different cultures worship," said Miyazaki when asked about the Hebdo attack [via Yahoo! News]. "It's a good idea to stop doing that,"

That doesn't mean Miyazaki is against satire or criticism. For him, caricatures should be used in a different manner.

"First and foremost, [caricatures] should be made of your own country's politicians." According to 47News, Miyazaki added, "It's just looks suspicious to go after political leaders from other countries."

It's worth noting that Charlie Hebdo has also lampooned Catholicism, by far the largest religion in France, as well as numerous French politicians.

Nikkan Sports reports that elsewhere in the radio interview, Miyazaki expressed his concern over Japan's current prime minister and discussed the country's position in the world.

Picture: 映画「夢と狂気の王国」


    They're not 'cartoons' it's called Anime.

      They're not "Anime", it's called manga. It's printed, so it's a comic, not an animation. Besides, it's the English translation, not the original Japanese so in the end, "cartoon" is correct.

      Last edited 18/02/15 8:18 pm

    Well he seems clueless. The last thing you could call them is a mistake. There's not anyone here who could pass the Pepsi challenge with a quick game of "From Charlie Hebdo or a White Supremacist newsletter" from their archives. You could call Nazi's publishing cartoons of Jews a mistake based on how angry it made Jews, but you'd be missing the point.

      I'm 100% for unconditional free speech and of the opinion that living in a free society means being exposed to some ideas you'll find repugnant, but he's right, it was a mistake and I'm sure the victims' families will admit it was a tragic miscalculation to print that cartoon.

      You're talking about a group of people who would take even the slightest insult as provocation and excuse for violence, e.g. the 'Innocence of Muslims' video. Yes free speech means you can say whatever you want, but if it's intended to provoke people, especially militant ones, I'd be treading on eggshells, or asking Salman Rushdie how to disappear.

    So we should make fun of democratically elected politicians, who are actually alive, but not religious figures who have been dead for a couple of thousand years or so? Ooookay.

    Free speech is not a mistake. Killing 12 people with an AK47 because they exercised their right to free speech is not just a mistake, but a horrific overreaction.

      But no-one's arguing that (I hope); there is no way that was justified. It's just that these terror cells are looking for the slightest provocation that they can get away with. And I know it seems like it's "letting the terrorists win" if we just stop doing this one thing, but I think that the local terrorist leaders will just keep using these sort of things as a way to anger young/stupid people and keep committing these atrocities.

        I don't think terrorist leaders need an excuse to shoot people in the name of religion. Heck they have shot people of their OWN religion, just not their particular sect. I believe if they can't find something that can be considered insulting they will just simply make something up to justify their atrocities.

        It's the case of any extremist mentality. Just look at Westboro Baptist Church where they thank God for everything from 9/11 to explosives killing American soldiers. Only difference is they won't pick up a gun and shoot gay people regardless of how much their existence 'insults' them.

        Last edited 18/02/15 5:59 pm

    He's correct. There's rights, and then there's respect. I might have the right to draw something, such as any member of the public in a gross or lewd situation, but that doesn't mean it's the respectful thing to do.

      But why would that recognise borderlines? It's ok to disrespect the Pope because you're in Europe? I'm not allowed to comment on white Jesus because I'm not American?

        The line is about ownership. If you're catholic disrespecting the pope is a form of self-mockery. I agree this is kinda nebulous. It doesn't really matter if you think you are part of something, an outsider might think you're not. Ultimately I think his point about mocking people outside your country seeming suspicious is about how such an attack might easily seem mean-spirited.

      How relevant is respect today though? It means different things to everyone and no one person can tell anyone else what it is. The comics aren't meant to simply offend, the purpose of all art is communication and it's sad so much of the art is actually saying is generalised into "it's disrespectful". If we consider how many different cultures exist around the world, how many different cultures exist within a country, a city and even sub-cultures within those. If we all just said "it's not the respectful thing to do" (about a group whose headlines are usually accompanied with a death toll) when it comes to creation and communication then we're not only restricting the people from an insightful perspective (just because you don't have tools to unpack it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, like air) but again simplifying a narrative that has become increasingly more complex and dangerous over centuries.

      For me, exploration and communication of the interrelationship of our cultures is showing respect for our future as human being not segregated cultures. I mean you're essentially saying that people should treat others how that specific person wants to be treated but in some way saying that this specific person has no responsibility to also be respectful. Being respectful is facing challenges with empathy and understanding even they come from other human beings. It's not silencing ourselves, it's when we reach conflict we work out away to close it that considers everyone, even those who were "disrespectful" instead of going into outrage mode and literally or figuratively killing them - which is obviously quite popular in politics and people today.

    It's not a mistake, no person or religion or anything should be 'off limits', if we start drawing lines in the sand it will never end.

      I see your point on where to draw the line as whats acceptable as it will be different for everyone. To say that NOTHING is off limits though is a tad ridiculous though. Even Charlie Hebdo (the bastion of free speech as some seem to feel) has a line in the sand regarding free speech. A line they showed when they sacked a cartoonist for refusing to change a cartoon that satirized Jews.

      I think the issue is people for some reason feel they are justified to say what ever you want because you believe in free speech. Your not. Free speech doesn't give you justification or authority to say something, it just allows you to. So you can say it. But just because you can doesn't mean you should, and just because you have a right to say it doesn't make saying it right.

        I think everything can be made fun of, and to try and stop certain things being the object of humour is wrong.

        However that doesn't mean I condone hate speech or racism or any other kind of ignorant hate mongering of any kind, all that stuff is based on ignorance and is meant with malice intent, to hurt, to offend and to perpetrate lies.

        There is also the issue of taste and appropriate-ness, but that's more up to the individual to gauge the situation and use their better judgement, knowing what the outcome will be.

          And I'd agree with you. Nothing should be off-limits and the cartoonists had every right to publish the drawings, but in a case of 'potentially pissing off people who are looking for excuses to kill,' I'd err on the side of caution. The victims weren't suicidal, attempting to martyr themselves, or destroy their families. They were in the business of satire and miscalculated the political climate and response of their last target. It was a mistake that ended in a lot of blood being spilled.

          All that is true, but still...what was the purpose of the comics? For cheap laughs? a political statement? If it was the former then there wasn't much point in getting yourself killed over. If it was the latter then it was a poor statement to begin with.

          The terrorists themselves are beyond help, but I think we want to stop fence sitters and the less informed Muslims to join their cause. These japes at their religious prophets does nothing but help push people to side with terrorists. Sure you can say "how can a stupid comic affect something like that lololololol!!!!11111one"....but it can and it will.

          In their mission to fight the terrorists they must not lose focus on keeping the fence sitters on our side. Free speech is well and good, but it would be too naive to not at least weigh the consequences of exercising such freedom

    France bans the burka and then goes on a crusade about personal liberties and freedom of speech? In a country that truly respected people's freedom maybe I'd also campaign for freedom of speech too, but at the moment it would seem the France has huge issues of cultural prejudice. Saying that, there is no part of me that thinks the reaction is okay, wasting human life is deplorable.

    I think this is a massive misinterpretation of Miyazaki meaning.

    He's not against free speech, he's about picking smart targets for satire/criticism.

    For example:
    Make a public satirical/critical comment about Australian Politicians and nothing will happen to you.
    Make a public satirical/critical comment about a third world Dictator within his country and expect to meet a Death Squad.
    Make a public satirical/critical comment about Mohammad and expect Death Threats and a fatwa on yourself.

      A little bit always seems lost in the translation from japanese but this is the general idea I got from him too.

    I think you're missing the point. It's more about self-mockery. If I went to a public space and started insulting all the overweight people I would be thought incredibly rude. If I make jokes about my own weight it's okay (although some very thoughtful people might worry about my self-esteem).

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