TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese diplomat known for his “wolf warrior”-style remarks has drawn the ire of Japanese for tweeting a controversial meme.
Zhao Lijian (趙立堅), an outspoken spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry on Monday (April 26) shared a picture based on the famous woodblock print "The Great Wave off Kanagawa."
“If Katsushika Hokusai, the original author is still alive today, he would also be very concerned about #JapanNuclearWater,” wrote Zhao.
The meme was created by a Chinese illustrator who goes by the Weibo handle “A boy with a learning passion” (一個熱愛學習的男孩) as a way to protest Japan’s decision to release nuclear wastewater from Fukushima into the ocean in two years. The prefecture was the epicenter of the 2011 Daiichi nuclear disaster.
In the image, the foam-crested waves of the original have been transformed into distorted human fingers and babies, while the boats carry personnel in hazmat suits appearing to empty buckets of water into the sea. In the background, Mount Fuji has been changed into a nuclear reactor.
The tweet has enraged many, including a legislator from Fukushima who lambasted it as a “ridiculous mistake that cannot be tolerated.” The Japanese foreign ministry has filed a protest to Beijing and requested that the tweet be removed, reported Kyodo News.
Taiwan has sought to join the International Atomic Energy Agency's probe into Japan’s plans to release the 125 million tons of contaminated water from Fukushima. The issue has become a point of contention, as Japan’s neighbors fear the impact of the radioactive water on the oceanic environment and their respective fishing industries.
A re-imagining of "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" (Twitter, Zhao Lijian image)
"The Great Wave off Kanagawa" (Wikipedia image)