Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Three Cartoons By Sato Masaaki On The Abe-Park Meeting

Tokyo Shimbun editorial cartoonist Sato Massaki is a national treasure. With the U.S.-Japan-South Korean trilateral meeting on the fringes of the nuclear security summit at The Hague, the first face-to-face meeting of any substance between the leaders of Japan and South Korea since Abe Shinzo became prime minister, only hours away, here are a trio of recent Sato cartoons on the fraught Abe-Park relationship.

[N.B. The sequence of cells within a cartoon is supposed to be read from the top right to the bottom left.]

"A Collection of Contemporary Disappeared Items"
Published: 18 March 2014

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Relevant URLs:

"Japan's Beethoven Admits He Is A Fraud"

"Reliability of STAP cells 'breakthrough' questioned"

"For Abenomics, 'Third Arrow 'Is Hardest -- And Most Needed"

"Ending? Beginning?"
Published: 22 March 2014

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Two hooks here. The seemingly eternal run of noontime variety show Waratte ii to mo ("It's OK to Laugh") comes to a close on April 1. Abe, in tribute to the show's longtime appeal and in order to counter his reputation of being a stiff, made the first and what will be last appearance by a sitting prime minister on the show on Friday. (Link)

The recurring bit in the show is to have the guest call up a "friend" on the telephone and invite that friend to appear on the show. The friend, after some banter, is supposed to agree with a cheery "that sounds good."

In reality, Prime Minister Abe called up superstar actor and musical performer Kimura Takuya, who did his part by replying cheerily in the affirmative. In Sato's cartoon world, Abe calls up President Park of South Korea. Her response to his invitation to appear is a grudging, scowling, shrugging resignation.

"We Want This To Be A Match Without An Audience”
Published 25 March 2014

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The title reference is to the Urawa Reds - Shimizu S-Pulse match played to a stadium of empty seats in a league punishment for a fan group's display of a xenophobic banner. (Link)

However, the audience behind Madame Park that Mr. Abe and for the most part U.S. President Barack Obama want gone is composed of North Koren leader Kim Jong-un, a South Korean flag-waving President Xi Jinping of China and the comfort woman statue installed both in front of the Japan Embassy in Seoul and in a park in the California city of Glendale.


ArmchairAsia said...

Why do they make Park look so fat? She is not.They also make her look very dowdy, which she is not.

MTC said...

Arnchair Asia -

I think the breadth has something to do with a decision to make up for her relative lack of height.

As for the dowdyness, whose to say what is fashionable in a cartoonish world?