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Operation Tomodachi Cartoon: “Adorable” vs “Creepy”


Japanese gratitude towards the US military’s earthquake relief efforts, dubbed “Operation Tomodachi,” has resulted in the flattering image above, prompting a delighted reaction from Americans and a somewhat more mixed response from Japanese…

The original post and a selection of the comments it provoked:


“This was sent to us by a man in Hokkaido. It says, ‘To everybody in the U.S. 7th Fleet: Thank you. The Japanese people will not be beaten.'”

“What is this I’m feeling… it….patriotism? How nice.”

“Someone…likes us?”

“Very cool. Also interesting to discover that the Japanese national animal is an owl, if thats the case.”

“Green pheasant is the national bird.”

“Note to self: Do not eat Green Pheasant in Japan.”

“That is seriously….adorable.”

“Great things like this make me proud to be in the Navy, though I only sit around in Hawaii as this goes on.”

The appreciative counter-response from 2ch upon seeing the image and responses it elicited:


“What is up with this toadying picture…”

“A nice picture in great taste!”

“I get the eagle but what the hell is that other bird?”

“Some kind of owl I think.”

“Looks like a sparrow.”

“A pheasant or crested ibis I reckon.”

“This is a kind of irritating picture but we’re all grateful so who cares!”

“Way too sycophantic but a lot of people in Japan fall for that sort of American heroism though.”

“But Hokkaido wasn’t even effected by the disaster…”

“So cool I got wet.””That owl is cute.”

“I’m grateful to the yanks but this is creepy. It looks like it was done by some homosexual who wants an American to do him.”

“Good stuff. You should spread your legs wider and fawn on them more.”

“I’ve never seen a picture depicting so much ass-kissing.”

“For Japanese sensibilities this probably seems too fawning, but you have to remember they are a bunch of idiots and can’t understand it unless you really spell it out for them.”

“Nice pic – GJ!”

“Well, there are masochists in every country.”

“Make us the 51st state please. Our government is just too useless.”

“A lot of people seem to think America’s armed forces are helping us for free. Remember that Japan has to pay for the upkeep of US forces stationed here. Flattering them as our saviours like that is a bad habit of the Japanese.”

“I’m reminded of that photograph of MacArthur and the emperor.”

“Well, America is so widely hated that it’s no wonder they are happy when their little Pochi draws close.”

“This is just the sort of thing which’d appeal to Americans. The artist knew his audience alright…”

“At least it isn’t some creepy moe illustration!”

“They’ll like it, so that’s good enough. They did after all help the victims. But we do have to pay for all those forces in any case…”

“There’s no harm in flattering them. It’ll make sure they realise the Japanese people don’t support the DPJ’s pro-China and anti-US foreign policy.”

“This is pretty creepy. The picture really expresses the servile character of the Japanese…”

“It looks more like the bird is being menaced by the eagle, doesn’t it?”

“Like the bird was the victim of domestic violence but still likes the eagle anyway…”


“America’s national bird is the bald eagle then?”

“A carnivore…”

“But will it be eaten afterwards?”

Japanese can likely be forgiven for taking US aid for granted considering the billions of dollars of their taxes used to support the US bases in Japan, although there is probably no harm in letting Americans think they are being magnanimous all the same.

Japanese can probably also be forgiven for being unable to recognise their own national animal considering how boring and nondescript it is; conversely, Americans tempted to crow about their own majestic choice of raptor should probably consider the scepticism of their own founding father Benjamin Franklin:

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country.

He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.

You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”

Franklin considered the turkey a more appropriate national bird for the United States of America…

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  • Hungary also sent aid and multiple organizations are there to help out, sure the japanese representative thanked Hungary in hungarian and that was nice, but where is OUR image? Sure we don’t have a “mascot” like the US eagle, but still πŸ™

  • Anonymous says:

    The green pheasant is a cool bird, with a colorfull plumage, nothing like that fucking owl-squirrel. The bald eagle wish to be as awesome as the green pheasant.

    The eagle in the drawing looks like a child molester.

  • Anonymous says:

    β€œI’m grateful to the yanks but this is creepy. It looks like it was done by some homosexual who wants an American to do him.”

    this made me clap, seriously.

    And Benjamin Franklin may not like the choice of raptors picked, but it accurately represents the scumbags in office.

  • Kitsune9Tails says:

    β€œLike the bird was the victim of domestic violence but still likes the eagle anyway…”

    Unfortunately, this seems a pretty spot on description of the image. But I did get a kick out of the “someone likes us?” comment from the Navy guy. All too true, and sad how much Dubya ruined our foreign image (what was left after Iran-Contra). At least this might help bring it back a little.

  • Anonymous says:

    β€œI’m grateful to the yanks but this is creepy. It looks like it was done by some homosexual who wants an American to do him.”

    β€œGood stuff. You should spread your legs wider and fawn on them more.”


  • Some of these 2ch guys are confused about one simple fact: the US military has no responsibility to help out. None. Japan wasn’t invaded. We *could* have just sat on our asses at our bases and watched everything unfold on TV.

    We didn’t do that.

    No. We *chose* to help. What our military is doing there now is *not* being paid for by the Japanese people. You can complain about a lot of the other things America is doing right now, and I’ll be right there with you on many of those things, but not this: this is one of the few good things we’ve done in a while, and I’m proud of my military and my nation for helping out the Japanese people in their time of need.

  • Anonymous says:

    The Japanese should have been portrayed as a tanuki with the eagle helping carrying it’s giant scrotum. The tanuki could be carrying one testi while the eagle carries the other. True tomodachi.

  • What ever happened to that FAQ page that basically said;

    “I’m just some guy running a blog, posting news stories I think are interesting/appropriate to sankaku’s theme.”

    All the commentary/opinion you throw into stories lately is…

  • Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget that SEVERAL other countries offered and delivered help in various forms.

    I don’t want to lessen the American efforts because they were significant. But let’s not forget that there are other parties involved here.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh well, I knew sooner or later American would get bashed again. We’re still in Japan, saving lifes and helping rebuild. Our main objective there isn’t try to win the popularity contest. As long as things are improving, who cares what insults people are throwing at us. We’re big enough to take it.

  • Ben Franklin, one of the “Founding Fathers” wanted the USA’s national symbol/mascot to be a TURKEY…

    He reasoned that it’d make a better symbol of what he wanted America to stand for;

    Turkeys (and we mean wild ones) are smart, resourceful and very tough birds. They also defend their families quite well by both distracting predators from the nest or by making a valiant fight at last resort.

    He was troubled by the symbolism of an Eagle. Mind you, this was the late “Renaissance” where the visionaries (Scientists, artists, writers, rich elite patrons) were trying to at last bring about another “Empire” to match Ancient Rome. It really humbled them (and inspired them) that they had been living over relics of empires that even the ruins of they could not manage to build. New construction was heavily inspired by them. America’s system of government is closest to a Roman “Republic” and don’t confuse that with “Republicans” (puke)… A Republic is meant to be an extrapolation of classic Greek Democracy that is supposed to work on a greater scale than a “City-State” which when gets too big becomes paralyzed by a “Tiny Majority” and then those not in the majority start breaking it apart. It’s supposed to sanely run a giant society being as close to Democracy as possible but having enough checks and balances to prevent degeneration. It worked for a while.

    Franklin was just (not a direct quote) “Well, the ancient Romans passed away and their cruel, brutal empire was for naught…” He also pointed out that the “Eagle” -Rome’s Symbol- isn’t just a “Magnificent and vicious raptor”, it’s also a BUZZARD that’s prettier. It’ll eat putrefying carrion and if it’s available versus hunting nobly for food and will also steal from other birds.

    But, America opted for the Eagle. Perhaps they don’t make as good eating as Turkey and the average person feared a “Tax” or worse “Ban” on eating them. And America has indeed become an “American Empire” much to the woe of the rest of the world, and it’s now falling apart inside by social inequality and paralyzed politics, much like Rome did…

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear, yet another half educated libertarian.

      Two factual innacuracies that are so gross I can’t ignore them:
      Rome was not a cruel Empire. It was known for being kind to its allies, neutrals and defeated enemies. Same as America in WWI and WWII. I recommend the book Empires of Trust.

      The Republicans fought slavery, not the Democrats, and it is far from the only social injustice fought by them. Democrats are generally more progressive, but also weak and unwilling. The histories of the two parties is very complex.

      But I see you’re intent on running politics into animal allegories anyways, so it’s probably a long shot for you to educate yourself without intellectual retrenchment setting in.

      • Anonymous says:

        Republicans and Democrats switched groups when it came to civil rights, in the end it was the liberal/progressive north that fought slavery and who were once originally called Republicans.

      • Y’know something…

        I’m used to a goodly number of the responses to my postings being criticism or outright attacks because of my beliefs, but you’ve actually offended me.

        A “Libertarian”…

        Hairy ballz of the Gawdz!!!
        -and I mean “Gadz” as in “Fruit of the Gawdz” a cool Hustler pictorial from years back…

        IMO, Libertarian = LiberTINE…
        Y’know like the French writer and role model for youth the Marquis De Sade. The sort of guy who’s “Respected Nobility” ’cause his Dad managed to climb up/kick down into a noble family. So he thinks he’s a “Radical” cause he doesn’t care about the puritanical morality or current social problems, but it’s cool that he’s rich and can pay desperately poor people to do all sorts of sick things for him. But, say on one week he hires a teenage girl to be his “Maid” and later her father tries to SHOOT him since he’s raped and tortured her many times the first week he runs like a bunny at a fursuit lifestyler convention to the police and screams for them to get medeival on the ‘criminal’ who assaulted him.

        Granted, the image of a young nubile female partially undressed in a maid costume on a wooden horse with a crazed nobleman (or vile noblewoman) whipping her makes the mighty reptile I ride get restless and violent so I have to choke him till he vomits and is calm for a while. I can appreciate his writings. But I can recognize it in RL for what it is.

        And, even that comparison is flattering at best.

        “Libertarianism” as it is now is just another falsehood the controllers use to divide and conquer and enslave mankind. It’s a sub-category for people who don’t buy the “Left-Right” stereotypes, namely Right wingers with liberal tendencies and Left wingers with rightest tendencies. It’s a middle ground for people not easily attracted to extremism. It’s been criticized as “Anarchy, doood, but for richer people…” but again even that’s flattery. Just there as a “Controlled 3rd party” scheme.

        Likewise, “Republicans” of today are nothing like they were before. But, both are kind of like Ancient Rome during it’s decline. A bunch of selfish robbing greedy social climbing scum who beat the drums of “Enemies at the gate/Morality!” when they let their society crumble and only work to enrich themselves no matter who they steal from to do that. Oh, yeah, there are GAY Republicans, Black Republicans and “Non-Millionaire” ones also aka “Suckers”…

        And the Romans sacked and burned the whole world that they could reach… Yeah, ruled what they didn’t burn with an Iron Fist…

        I like ’em actually, ‘cept for one thing; They didn’t KILL what they RAPED in the British isles, creating the degenerate bastard rape child aka the “Breton”…

  • They may have to pay for the base upkeep, but conversely the risk in defending them from, say, a possible chinese or russian invasion is taken off them to a considerable extent with us picking up the slack. Also, the bases mean the US was able to provide help almost immediately after this disaster, and considering how much their own government has bungled this, the people being helped are probably grateful for the american servicemen there.

    That said, the picture does look a bit sycophantic, but then I’ve become wary of the conservative obsession with flashing symbols everywhere. Still, regardless of their skepticism I do believe a good part of the reason for the aide is simply helping out a friend in need–unlike many allies I think the US has a particularly friendly relationship with Japan, so even without the numerous self-interested benefits there’s still a compelling reason to help.

  • Anonymous says:

    But but If Japan had their army, they could invade China, and all those other countries inferior to themselves … Like America … except with a bit more xenophobia and bigotry attached.

    • Anonymous says:

      “You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”

      It does indeed sound like the US: a lot lazy people who take advantage of hard-working poor people to become rich and stay rich. Well, the bald eagle is apparently “poor” but I guess rich people are just poor people who’ve amassed all the other poor peoples’ money.

      • Anonymous says:

        If aliens landed, forced everyone to start with the same amount of resources (land, water, food, money), in 5 years, almost everyone would be back to where they started.

        Most rich people got rich by busting their ass. Only a few got it from stealing or dishonest means.

        Most poor people stay poor due to the decisions they make and their own money habits.

        Don’t buy into the eco-caste BS. Go out and do your own living and watch what people do. You want to get rich? Make cheap stuff people want, or do services for them they are too lazy or unwilling or too untalented to do for themselves. That’s how 99% of people get rich. Their kids will blow what mommy and daddy leave them, because the kids have different ideas and expectations for life, and less motivation.

        • actually, the vast majority of the 1%ers inherit their wealth.

          this “do services for them they are too lazy or unwilling or too untalented to do for themselves. That’s how 99% of people get rich” is a ridiculous myth.

          minimum wage is $7.25/hour.

          construction workers are responsible for about 300 million people in the USA having roofs over their heads. not to mention being responsible for allowing people to live in cities that are not knee deep in human feces. they make 1 – 3 times minimum wage.

          migrant farm workers are responsible for about 300 milion people in the USA NOT starving to death. they get paid about 50% minimum wage.

          first responders (firefighters, et al) are paid about 2x minimum wage.

  • Anonymous says:

    I knew it wouldn’t take long for 2ch to turn against America again. What about all the soldiers and search and rescue firefighters we sent in from the States? It wasn’t just the soldiers already stationed in Japan.

  • For some reason, the image passes a USA-sided “bigger and better” feeling…they could have balanced the image more so that both countryes look more like “equals”.

    1-The flags are in different sizes, USA’s is bigger.
    2-The “japanese bird” looks weak and pitiable, while the USA’s eagle looks strong.

    On the other side:
    3-The USA’s bird is posing like an “older brother”, supporting the injured “younger brother”. Sending a nice feeling of “brother-like/very-friendly” relationship betwen the nations(‘s birds).
    4-Im not really sure if its a mirage, but the botton-left tip of the japanese flag looks like its over the botton-right tip of the USA’s frag. If thats the case it counters the feeling of USA’s supperiority given earlier by the different-sized flags.

    Anyways, this is just an image, and what really matters is the actions being taken to aid japan, not only by USA but by other countryes too, one way or another.

    • The countries aren’t equal, that’s why.

      1. USA has more than twice the population of Japan, so the flags could be simply linked to that. It is also geographically much larger.
      2. Japan needed help with the quakes, and suffered a lot (hence the weak and pitiable look), and USA sent people over to help.

      For the rest, you can understand this pic however you want just like you’ve said.
      3. Japan did end up being USA’s bitch because of WWII right. USA (but also west Europe) basically became an example (just like a younger brother could look up to his older brother) for Japan’s development ever since the latter accepted guns/etc (Last Samurai depicts this, unless it’s pure bs, then a lot of the world and I have been lied to D:..)
      4. The flags are mixed together, you can’t really tell if one is over the other but with a lower opacity. The reason Japan looks more outstanding for that small part is simply due to that part of it’s flag being white, which catches the eye’s attention more.

      I’m not defending USA (not the country but their leaders/armies) as being righteous folks just by doing this, I pretty much believe they’ll benefit far more in the end by doing this whether it’s for their image in the media, for economical reasons, or anything else. USA has loved fucking up other countries since it exists so just helping tens of thousands of people can’t redeem all the shit they’ve done yet rather not mention nowadays (at least I believe; in French High School education we weren’t told about something as crucial as ‘Agent Orange’ when studying the Vietnam war. Yet, we were told about Japan using Chinese soldiers/people for ‘scientific purposes’ in Middle School. The latter is on a much smaller scale, so I guess the earlier wasn’t mentioned because then they’d need to mention every shit USA’s done besides nuking Hiroshima/Nagasaki (which is almost the only thing people know about).)

      But yeah, if you’re gonna thank someone and hope to please them, it’s always best to make them feel superior by doing so. Japanese businessmen know how to ass-kiss their superiors just like this artist ass-kissed the USA; there’s nothing surprising.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol, in the US we gladly teach about the crap we’ve done in our schools (spent quite a bit of time on slavery and racism and I went to school in the Southern US, where we’re accused of being “deniers” by other Americans). Maybe France should teach more about raping Africa etc. and the other things it did to get to its current position in the world?

        • Tell me about it bro. Criticize the US for things that every country does. US admits it, criticizers don’t, and yet the criticizers still have the moral high ground because it’s only bad and unredeemable when the US does it. I run into this European hater logic no matter where I go. Even from Americans(but most of them are only saying it so that they can get laid).

          Maybe I should move to the South, if that helps at all.

  • β€œLike the bird was the victim of domestic violence but still likes the eagle anyway…”

    ^I agree with this comment too. It does look like the eagle kicked the owl’s arse and then he was going “alright, glad we got that settled”

  • Anonymous says:

    american mafia = eagle doing thumbs up to the wounded. come on guys, we’ve seen this before. they’ll help, but with a contract of giving the help back. this isn’t really called help since japan would be in another debt. added debt+current debt+shit head political leaders = more depressing country.

      • Well I’ll answer instead then. I wouldn’t really want to hear any of those biased accusations coming from a person with little knowledge of today’s politics.
        The Japanese government widely opened the door for the US helpers, whilst calling a ~certain country~ an aggressor for sending 2 planes with humanitarian supplies. How this whole Tomodachi operation would be seen, if China or S.Korea would send their own military to help out? Stupid Jap govt would start yelling they’re being attacked or occupied.

        It’s certainly not a matter of generosity, but rather a matter of whom the victim chooses to be saved by.

  • The Japanese people I have talked with on this topic have expressed much thanks for America’s help and aid.

    The newspaper said America’s armed forces worked very hard to help the victum’s of disaster and were impressed by their effectiveness in setting up bases of operation for the SDF to do their work properly.

    It’s a shame that people have to criticize humanitarian efforts in such a time of crisis.

      • starsplash says:

        The humanitarian bombings that was done was to prevent Gadafi’s forces from entering cities where you know they just wont occupy the city. They would kill and torture civilians.

        Id say thats humanitarian if you ask me. There was no offensive in that effort.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your sadly mistaken if you really believe the US is trying to help the rebels in Libya for altruistic reasons. They do have gain for helping the rebels topple the old government of Libya. Why didn’t they intervene in Egypt when the government was too killing it’s people?

      • @γ€€ηΎŽγ—γ„ιŸ³

        So no matter what the US does you’ll have a problem with it.
        Stand on on the sidelines and their heartless bastards.
        Send assistance and it’s a public relations gimmick.
        Altruism doesn’t exist in the real world so I’m not looking for it. Even friends get something out of helping each other. Personally as an American I’m glad were doing something more than providing lip service and platitudes.

        • You interpret actual aids as “propagandish bomb”? That is just beyond pathetic. By your logic, the whole concept of humanitarianism should be eliminated because the ulterior motive of “we’ll leave you alone in the next quake if you piss me off” is SOOOOO great that we should do away with aids altogether. We can let thousands of people die so that they don’t live to see the supposed “propaganda”.

          So what has your country done to help the earthquake? All I see is a generic internet hater hating on others who actually helped. If you are not so insecure about how insignificant and pathetic you are, you wouldn’t even feel the need to join the “cool train” of US bashing. If you really have a problem with how people are handling this, why don’t you do something meaningful like volunteering to help them yourself?

        • Anonymous says:

          Just ignore ηΎŽγ—γ„ιŸ³. Everything American does he has a problem with it. I bet even if an American pulled him out of a burning building and he’d still find something nasty to say about it.

          Ironicly he has about the same level of intelligence as those “America fuck-yeah” yanks. He’s just a flip of the same idiot coin.

        • Haha, factual errors? Have you seen the congress summit? They don’t fucking know. They don’t know who they’re protecting, they don’t know why they got involved, they don’t know what’s going to come of it.
          No, I’m not saying America is dropping physical bombs on Japan, but they did indeed get a chance to drop a small propagandish bomb. Kick us out and we’ll leave you stranded during your next earthquakish crisis.

  • WTF is that bird anyway? It doesn’t look like an owl nor a sparrow. Not even a pheasant, which I think is rather unpleasant. What kind of references did the artist borrow? Because I don’t see why one guy thought it was a sparrow. If it indeed is an owl, then just looking at it makes me want to empty my bowels. DX

  • Anonymous says:

    How can we be sure that earthquake was not a doing of the USA’s HAARP project? Some important politician from USA canceled flight day before a quake. When a quake in Haiti stroke, they had prepared an army of 10000 mens already, just a coincidence? Ubeliviable? If someone told people hundred years ago that almost every household will have a modern and fast computers, internet, cell phones and similar stuff, they would not believe it, because we live in an absolute scifi alread. Even communicators from Start Trek are inferior to average cell phone today.

    Idea that electromagnetic waves can cause earthquake were already there back then, because of genius Nikola Tesla, who MIGHT have even cause Tunguzska meteorit disaster in Russia with his experiments. How could it work? Because of chaos theroy, even a small change somewhere can cause big reaction somewhere else. It might have been a hidden attack on Japan by the USA, or hidden economical elites like illuminati and jews in order to make a profit on markets speculation or bully them to not move that damn military base. We commoners cannot know, if it is true or not. Also experiments in CERN’s LHC might have been a cause or help to HAARP attack, Iran already accused them of being cause of earthquake there. While Iran’s creditibility is low, what if their claims are right in this situation? Such weapons are hard to detect, so it’s up only to a speculation. There have been way too many earthquakes last year than it is common, so who knows?