Japan Protests BBC A-Bomb Survivor Joke


The Japanese Embassy in London has issued a formal protest against the BBC for airing a programme daring to call a man who survived both Hiroshima and Nagasaki the world’s unluckiest man.

The objectionable clip:


The man in question, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survived both atomic bombs dropped on Japan during WWII, dying of natural causes in 2010, aged 93. During his life he freely told the tale and participated in a variety of films and documentaries, and even wrote a book about his experiences.

The Japanese government took exception to the programme however, and its embassy issued a formal rebuke to the BBC and the show’s production staff for “handling his story in an inappropriate and insensitive manner.”

In response to this and some criticism by Japanese residing in the UK, the show’s staff emailed them an apology saying “it was very regrettable the show caused offence” but pointing out that the WWII tragedies of Americans and Europeans “were handled in the same fashion.”

Some additional context to the Japanese complaints is the fact that mocking the dead is usually considered to be in poor taste by Japanese, whether intended malignly or not.

Additionally, the so-called “hibakusha” (atomic bomb victims) both form a politically influential lobbyist group which receives special benefits and a potent symbol of what many Japanese would like to perceive as their WWII victimhood and the wickedness of the barbarian invaders.

Naturally enough, 2ch is very keen on the opportunity to simultaneously play the injured victim of racism whilst heaping slurs on the white pigs who dare to desecrate the name of the honoured dead:

“Those English gentlemen just love to discriminate!”

“For him to be nuked twice but live to 93 actually makes him more like the world’s luckiest man…”

“Britain is like that. They can make anything the seed of a black joke.”

“‘It’s very regrettable the remarks caused discomfort’ – that’s not an apology at all!”

“Stop making fun of the dead!”

“The harsh humour of the English is quite amusing, especially when it comes to war.”

“This is going too far!”

“I can’t abide Europeans for making these kinds of jokes!”

“It can’t be helped – the man even emphasised his misfortune himself.”

“If you subtitled this and aired it in Japan it would become a big issue!”

“They really laid into him – die you bastards!”

“Don’t our crappy variety shows always make fun of foreign countries too?”

“The British have no character and it shows!”

“He got nuked twice – it’s pretty childish to protest about calling him unlucky when it’s a fact.”

“It’s not even a discriminatory remark, it’s just a programme filled with crude humour.”

“One of our embassies actually did something for once!”

“The British were always a wicked and spiteful people…”

“So they think just because they make fun of their own casualties as well it’s OK to make fun of us? Are the BBC all idiots or what!?”

“Even their apology seems to be sarcastically making fun of us.”

“Those British weren’t even nuked and they still don’t live past 93!”

“What a disgraceful show, laughing about the deceased like that!”

“You can tell they just think ‘the Japs who are upset just don’t get the joke’ – this pisses me off.”

“Well, they’re English so what can you do? It’s still out of line by Japanese standards, so a protest is appropriate though…”

“This crosses the line! This would be completely unacceptable in America. I’m really furious!”

“The BBC is alright, but CNN does nothing but trashy tabloid sex stories about Japan…”

“I’m so pissed! Destroy Britain completely!”

“They don’t even consider dropping those bombs on us a bad thing, so naturally they laugh about it.”

“Their brains rot away because of all the terrible food they eat. The British are of low intelligence.”

“They eat pig food so no wonder they find it funny.”

“The ones who were unlucky were the ones who died.”

“What can we do to piss them off?”

“Tell them Princess Diana is partying with the devil in hell!”

“Try calling Queen Elizabeth a dirty whore.”

“‘British food is the best in the world, isn’t it!!”

“How about if we sink the Prince of Wales again!”

“If he was just bombed twice with conventional bombs Japan’s wouldn’t protest. Japan is way too sensitive about nuclear weapons.”

“Well, if a Jew who survived a concentration camp and 9/11 was called the world’s unluckiest man I doubt Jews wouldn’t find it funny and I can’t see them protesting about it…”

“If they joke about Auschwitz and Allah then I forgive them.”

“At least he had the good fortune not to be born British in the UK!”

“They should at least have offered a grovelling apology!”

“The British sense of humour is warped.”

“What’s with this huge over-reaction just because the A-bomb is involved? It’s ridiculous. He lived to a ripe old age and died a peaceful death, it’s better than a death at Nagasaki.”

“Britain is just a vicious little island nation. Anywhere they fill their cities with surveillance cameras deserves everything it gets.”

“They’re just still bitter we sunk the Prince of Wales – HAHAHA!”

“The English are the rudest people in the world and their mass media is the crudest there is.”

“If they don’t laugh at the misfortune of others they can’t stomach that swill they have to eat.”

“Doesn’t anyone think this guy is really unlucky? I sure did.”

“This is all because they are prejudiced against Asians.”

“They have to eat all that beef with BSE so they’re all even more messed up than the people who got nuked.”

“They think of Asians as nothing but monkeys. All whites think that. They’re deluded.”

“Somebody teach those British apes proper comedy.”

“Nuke Britain! Then they’ll understand!”

“They shouldn’t be making fun of other countries. The government should hound them for an apology.”

“I thought this guy was unlucky when I heard his story. I think the issue is actually that we live in an atmosphere where we can’t even say something like that.”

“I would rather the protest be about the fact this guy wasn’t called the luckiest man to have ever lived – 2 nukes and he died peacefully age 93.”

“They should take the producer to the memorial – that’ll change his thinking!”

“That didn’t even work on the people who actually developed and dropped the bomb.”

“Thinking of the white pig who thought up this joke makes me sick. He should be beheaded!”

“They should have got his permission before he died.”

“Of course they protested. These people probably just think it’s like being bombed in an air-raid!”

“It’s pointless saying anything to them. They’ll just ridicule the fact you’re even protesting.”

“We can’t even laugh about a joke like this – no wonder we have so many suicides.”

“The real issue here is whether he was lucky or unlucky.”

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    Avatar of kazaza2
    Comment by kazaza2
    10:01 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    To survive 2 atomic blasts and live to the age of 93 I would consider him very lucky and blessed.
    R.I.P. Yamaguchisan

    Avatar of Surendil
    Comment by Surendil
    10:51 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    “Britain is just a vicious little island nation. Anywhere they fill their cities with surveillance cameras deserves everything it gets.”

    It's funny to call Britain a 'vicious' · 'little' · 'island nation' comming from Japan, isn't it?

    Avatar of H-Ero
    Comment by H-Ero
    09:58 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    IMO the guy was both lucky and unlucky.

    Avatar of Firetribe
    Comment by Firetribe
    Avatar of Lunar Archivist
    Comment by Lunar Archivist
    11:57 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I was expecting something far worse than what I saw in the clip. The three of them weren't even mocking the dead guy. They spent most of the time trying to figure out whether he was lucky or unlucky and making fun of the fact that the trains in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were running (on time) despite both cities being nuked while it takes a lot less than that to screw up the British railway system. So they were actually mostly bashing their own country's inefficient public transportation system.

    You know, for a nation that won't even acknowledge responsibility for the Rape of Nanking and have a war museum "dedicated to those who died in defense of the Empire", the Japanese have pretty thin skin. :P

    Avatar of Woop
    Comment by Woop
    09:56 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    2ch needs to take a chill pill.

    12:12 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    They need to take two chill pills.

    Avatar of MikuHatsune10728
    Comment by MikuHatsune10728
    13:44 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)


    Avatar of Aoshi_88
    Comment by Aoshi_88
    19:52 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    And a side of salad while you're at it

    17:24 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    @gitami would you like fries with that order?

    Avatar of Gitami
    Comment by Gitami
    15:59 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    2 child plz?

    Avatar of Pyrolight
    Comment by Pyrolight
    11:32 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    I was laughing through it. They did a fairly good job of keeping it mild humour. They could have been far nastier then that.

    As far as 2ch this made me chuckle

    “They think of Asians as nothing but monkeys. All whites think that. They’re deluded.”

    “Somebody teach those British apes proper comedy.”

    Oh the epic irony.

    Avatar of Seira
    Comment by Seira
    11:44 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    i agree ive seen far worse

    Avatar of RakkaKaze
    Comment by RakkaKaze
    10:05 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Definitely worlds luckiest to live one of the longer lifespans most will get to experience, as well as experiencing every militant nuke dropped... which hopefully no other will have the chance to strip him of... (Does anyone know the oldest of the double bomb survivors? Was it him?)

    Avatar of Xerxes von Orphansmith
    10:08 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Usually the BBC is pretty trollish, but I don't think they're being assholes here. They definitely shouldn't have apologized. Loved this comment:

    “We can’t even laugh about a joke like this – no wonder we have so many suicides.”

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    09:54 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    "The man in question, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survived both atomic bombs dropped on Japan during WWII,"

    he's actually quite lucky to have survived both and lived to tell about it

    may he rest in peace

    Avatar of Tesujin
    Comment by Tesujin
    09:53 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    lol at their rage

    Avatar of Tesujin
    Comment by Tesujin
    09:58 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    watching it over, its not even bloody offensive, they even say he can either be the unluckiest or the luckiest man which ever way you see it, that's true....

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    11:08 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    That was actually pretty funny. And they didn't do it in poor taste.

    Lol, I can just imagine the guy getting to Nagasaki and going "Not again..."

    Avatar of Nin
    Comment by Nin
    09:53 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.5)

    “Those British weren’t even nuked and they still don’t live past 93!”

    This is one of the wittier comments. Kudos to you, Anon.

    Avatar of Xerxes
    Comment by Xerxes
    12:28 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    funny if you think about.. didnt the old queen even get past the 100?

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    23:21 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Everyone's aware that the Queen is a living walking corpse..

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:58 24/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You're thinking the Queen Mum at 102, and she reached that age without being actually dead and her relatives not reporting that she'd already died so they could collect the pension.

    Elizabeth II is 84 at the moment, but if she inherited her mother's genes for longevity, than she'll be here for quite some time more.

    Avatar of shiroki
    Comment by shiroki
    11:28 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    So the 11s are not happy with Brittania, lets see what happens next.

    Avatar of Yes, we have no bananas
    10:51 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    So they're outraged that Bill Bailey suggested he was Dutch?

    Avatar of Yourtime
    Comment by Yourtime
    10:01 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    wow... o________o @the man who alived it. he is the real legend.

    Avatar of Ben
    Comment by Ben
    11:45 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Did he died? Hell no, he alived it twice!

    Avatar of Stangace20
    Comment by Stangace20
    09:57 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Considering it's the BBC, I'm surprised they even got his name right

    Avatar of Garyuu
    Comment by Garyuu
    11:15 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    “They think of Asians as nothing but monkeys. All whites think that. They’re deluded.”

    This is kind of funny. He basically has a prejudice against white people, because they are prejudice against Asians. That doesn't really make him any better.

    BTW I just found out that I think Asians are monkeys. I never knew that.

    “The BBC is alright, but CNN does nothing but trashy tabloid sex stories about Japan…”

    I knew Americans would somehow get pulled into this.

    Avatar of Seira
    Comment by Seira
    11:45 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    yeah i know what hypocrites

    Avatar of Minru
    Comment by Minru
    11:40 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    if this is true, i gotta start watching CNN...

    Avatar of Seira
    Comment by Seira
    11:45 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    CNN dont make me laugh its just sensationalism like all major news networks are
    stick to pbs

    Avatar of Reichi
    Comment by Reichi
    10:38 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    What else would you call him? Certainly not the world's luckiest man. Sounds like a shit-time to me, getting nearly evaporated twice.

    Avatar of TC-man
    Comment by TC-man
    11:13 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Well, every country has its own taboos. In this case it's inappropriate to joke about or even around the atomic bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    As for Tsutomu Yamaguchi, well, he's the unluckiest man on earth, not because he survived the bombing (two to be exactly), but more because he had experienced two atomic bombing in Hiroshima and later in Nagasaki in such short time.

    Avatar of Ryan Saotome
    Comment by Ryan Saotome
    10:22 22/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.3)

    So... what are they mad about? They called a man unlucky for living through two nukes? I'd call that unlucky.. its not like they insulted him or called him some racist name... Japanese need to stfu and stop imposing their culture on everyone else. If you don't want to talk about the dead, then don't. But don't act like the west is evil because they don't share that same sentiment.

    Avatar of Thor
    Comment by Thor
    10:40 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    2ch gets mad about everything, doesn't matter which topic.
    What do you expect from a board full of failures

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    11:03 22/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Your avatar fits perfectly with that comment.

    Avatar of Gitami
    Comment by Gitami
    16:07 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    It's a half full or half empty scenario.
    He's lucky to survive two atomic blast vs he's unlucky to get into two atomic blasts.


    If someone said to you at your hospital bed:
    "You're fucking lucky to survive that car crash" vs "You have shit luck ending up in that car crash." Replace that with cancer/aids/poverty or some other affliction affecting you right now.

    Which would you rather hear?

    Comment by คภєк๏

    It would benefit a lot of people to learn about and come to respect other cultures. Political correctness can be taken too far, but some also go too far in the other direction.

    Avatar of Achiuakuna
    Comment by Achiuakuna
    11:42 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    But you see, political correctness has never ever been balanced. And it has a history of not being applicable to Whites and Asians in terms of race, and losers of world war 2 in terms of countries. This BBC comment probably isn't really all that bad, but they are probably just overreacting to let out all the anger at this whole unfair PC bullshit.

    Comment by คภєк๏
    12:11 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I just said it wasn't balanced. <.<

    In any case, I was making a general statement, not commenting on the video clip specifically, which I hadn't watched yet when I posted. :p

    Avatar of Gespenst
    Comment by Gespenst
    12:14 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    “Try calling Queen Elizabeth a dirty whore.”

    Were you not on the other side of the world I would not take such language from you, sir!

    Avatar of blubee
    Comment by blubee
    13:37 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The more I read about comments on 2ch the more I realize just how uninformed and racist people on 2ch are. For one thing, Americans still debate on the ethics of dropping both bombs, whether or not it was justified given the circumstances, and even then Americans aren't exactly informed of what the circumstances were. We don't think lightly of it, and we don't all think they were justified. 2ch has no idea what they're talking about most of the time.

    The majority of 2ch very much reminds me of the Christian population in America. They eat up whatever they're told and only see what they want to see. They ignore anything that goes against their preconceived biases. They don't think. It's good to see that there's at least a few people who see reason on 2ch.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:52 23/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow, you were doing so good, condemning the ignorance and unfair generalizations. Up until you went and did just as bad.

    Please don't put all the millions of Christians in the US and all over the world in the same sack of sh*t just because a minority of us is crazy. There's plenty of crazy people all over the place, regardless of which religion they're from.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:37 23/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anon, Blubee said "Christian population of America", so why are you talking about "Christians in the US and all over the world"?

    Also, if the Christians in the US are so 'moderate' overall, why are the Christian leaders, movers and shakers so often extreme?

    It's because the so called 'moderates' are only moderate in that they don't preach the extreme stuff; but they *do* silently prop up those that do. How about a moderate Christian population speak up against the bigots once in a while? Where are the Catholics condemning the pope for that matter? If you don't partake in such extreme positions, you are no longer in step with the most influential of the Christian majority.

    Avatar of Rubba
    Comment by Rubba
    12:09 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Nothing wrong with QI what-so-ever.
    One of the best comedy programs on the BBC.

    Its just a case of people being far too touchy.
    I'm sure at some point theres been something that aired in Japan that some of us would find equally insulting.

    The world would be a very boring place without being able to laugh at each others misfortune and crack a few darker jokes.

    Avatar of Joe
    Comment by Joe
    14:40 22/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Why do people always forget Japan's slaughtering of innocent people. The Japanese people raped, tortured, and killed far more innocent civilians than the US killed with the atomic bombs.

    I understand that the bombings were terrible and many innocent lives were lost, but Japan should stop acting like innocent victims.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:56 23/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Japanese still think nowadays that they are 'The Superior Race', and that everybody else is inferior pigs.

    That's why they think what they did to the others is no big deal. And that's why they rage so much at the West.
    They're racist so they assume the West is too. And because they're angry that their country isn't the center of the world and that the rest of the world isn't bowing to their race, they get all full of ideas about "everybody else is discriminating against us". Well of course... when you think you're superior to everybody else, you end up thinking it has to be discrimination that others are not recognizing that "superiority".

    Japanese never says "we're equal", a line people in the West so often say. Japanese think they're above everyone else, and that other races are all inferior.

    Avatar of Pseudonymous
    Comment by Pseudonymous
    05:57 23/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I chuckled.

    The video seemed really tame. They could have done much worse compared to what was said. They also were sensible enough to acknowledge whether he was lucky or unlucky.

    This uproar is just an opportunity to spew hate. They weren't even disrespectful. The supposedly "superior" race has an inferiority complex? What an ironic jubilant moment.

    “The British sense of humour is warped."

    I can't imagine this being said with a straight face.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:06 23/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can't agree more with that observation. :D

    They really are picking at anything on 2ch. I don't blame the Japanese population or even the webmasters for any of these comments. The few remarks that I've seen just appear to be trollin'.

    Although I'll agree the british humor is warped, but it is that strange, twisted humor that makes it funny, unexpected and even innovative. The world could use more humor right now in my opinion.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:09 23/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You were the enemy,you got owned. We laughed. Not a bad way to treat your perverse, cruel enemies who have the mentality of ants.

    You know what's a bad way to treat your enemies? Unit 731.

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