Earlier this week, a video was released from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria demanding $200 million (USD) for the lives of two Japanese hostages: Freelance journalist Kenji Goto Jogo and private military contractor Haruna Yukawa.
The sum asked for by the group is the exact same as what Japan’s government has pledged to help fight them. In the video, the ISIS militant says that by aiding the forces that are against, Japan has made an enemy of their new regime. The militant in the video gave Japan a 72-hour deadline to deliver the money.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told the media that this is an important issue and that he’s angry about the hostages being taken, but according to an article from CNN, Japan has reached out to ISIS and has yet to hear a response as the deadline looms.
However, as the deadline draws nearer Japan’s people are speaking up through an Internet meme.
On Twitter, Japanese users have been using the hashtag “ISIS くそこらグランプリ“, which translates to the ISIS Crappy Collage Grand Prix that mocks the most recent video released by the group.
What is #ISISくそこらグランプリ?
Over the last week, Japanese Twitter users have been creating satirical images using footage taken from the video. Some show the two hostages with their heads replaced by anime characters and other include funny captions like the one seen below.
ISIS is known for their use of social media in both distributing videos and using it to recruit new followers – online and in the real world. This is being seen by some as online users fighting back against the fear ISIS tries to instil using their media, but other’s aren’t quite as convinced. Some examples of the satirical Tweets below:
While many Twitter users have responded positively to the use of the hashtag, others have put into question how seriously people are taking the threat.
Peter Payne, owner of J-List, an online store that sells Japanese products, said that the point of the hastag is to take away the fear factor from the ISIS images. “Basically the idea is to use humor to take the fear away from the situation,” he said in a Tweet.
Others are not so convinced that this is situation is something to be mocked online.
I've realized the lack of the moral standards of some Japanese people through #ISISクソコラグランプリ . Are they really trustworthy?