The Japanese MEME vs ISIS

If you’re a video gamer, you probably played one of the best Japanese-created video games, Metal Gear. One of its installments has an antagonist, which seems to love memes so much. But we don’t talk about that. We are here to talk about another kind of meme, the internet phenomenon which is all about a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

This January 20, 2015th, one of the most prominent terrorist state, the ISIS released a video showing two Japanese captors dressed in orange being held. The group claims to behead these hostages unless they issue $200 million dollars as a ransom fee. This could be a terrifying sight, that is, if this happened to other countries, the internet community of that particular country will surely bash the ISIS group using spicy words and hate. Some will express fear and might even give in. However, the Japanese is different. What happened was the birth of a new hashtag called “ISIS crappy collage grand prix”. This is indeed a crappy collage of Photoshop edits to the hostage videos.

This is their response, instead of calling the Japanese government or expressing their anger against the act, the Japanese twitter feed was filled with the parody images of the video. One of the earliest versions of the parody images gathered so much attention, which was, retweeted over 7,700 times, favorite over 5,000 times within its first 7 hours of existence.

After a few hours of that Photoshop meme’s birth, hundreds of new instance were created with the hashtag of “#ISISクソコラグランプリ”, which roughly translates to #ISISCrappyCollageGrandPrix. Some of the twitter users even provoked the allegedly twitter account of one of the members by sending those photos to the said account.

The allegedly ISIS twitter account responded with this statement, “Japanese people, you are so optimistic. Is it because he said that 5800 kilometers you think you are in safe zone. We have army everywhere.” He also added, “I really wanted to see your faces after these two get beheaded.”

The onslaught didn’t even staggered, instead, it continued even more, with the stream of memes coming through the Japanese twitter feed got only more ridiculous. The bigger part of the global internet community viewed this attempt as a new way to fight back to ISIS. Some believe that ISIS, being a terrorist group that relies on mass fear, should be ridiculed in order to weaken their resolve. Some others condemned this behavior because it’s as if they don’t have any sympathy to the hostages.

Whatever the reasons behind this, it only shows that the Japanese fights back using verbal assault and this are a brave act against one of the largest terrorist groups in the world.