Thursday, February 6, 2014

Angouleme International Comics Festival: Fascist, collaborator, or thief?

Angouleme International Comics Festival, France
 Angouleme International Comics Festival: 
Fascist, collaborator, or thief?

This is the forty-first year the Angouleme International Comics Festival was held in a town around two-hundred miles south of Paris, in Angouleme, France.  South Koreans have participated in the Festival for the past ten years cultivating a warm relationship with the organizers.  The cultivated friendship seems to have resulted in dividends cashed in this year by the South Koreans.  This year the South Korean contribution to the Festival included magna exhibit bashing Japan over the Comfort Women issue.  The Japan bashing was masqueraded as an attempt to raise the plight of women as victims during war, this year being the one-hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One.

In response to this one-sided view of history a group of Japanese citizens and one Texans reserved a  
Angouleme International Comics Festival
booth at the Festival, traveled to Angouleme, France to present magna offering another version on the issue.

A day before the opening of the event, the Japanese / Texan set up the Japanese magna booth.  After completion the group left for lunch.  Unbeknownst to the team while at lunch the provocateur arrived at the booth and did the nasty.  Sacredieu!  The provocateur being the gentleman from the Festival organization responsible for the Asian section.

Here are the events as they developed:

As the booth was being prepared a member of the events organization stopped by the booth read the banners, and suggested perhaps the wording should be changed or deleted.  Here is the wording on two banners thought to have been the irritants:

Fabricated comfort women story” or “The ‘military’ comfort women didn’t exist.”

U.S. Army 1944 report
Odds are it was “The ‘military’ comfort women didn’t exist” banner that caused the provocateur to erupt.  The banner was not denying comfort women did exist.  It was stating comfort women forced by the military did not exist.  That is the essence of the disagreement between South Korea and Japan.  South Koreans claim the comfort women were forced into sexual slavery to service the Japanese Imperial Army.  While the Japanese state the comfort women were well-paid recruited prostitutes.  Incidentally a U.S. Army 1944 report makes the same evaluation, “well-paid prostitutes.”

Another point of contention may have been a displayed panel illustrating a man giving the Nazi “Sieg Heil” with a swastika in the background.  This was illustrating Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels promotion of telling a lie enough times it becomes the truth.  This in reference to the South Korean claim Comfort Women were forced into sexual slavery.     

One of the banners at the Angouleme Comics Festival
Understand at this point in the adventure no contact was made by the event organizers requesting or demanding the banners be removed.  Instead the nasty deed of removing the banners was done while the group left for lunch, much like cockroaches working at night while the humans are asleep.  Did the provocateur purposely wait for the booth to be empty to steal the items?  Uh Huh Huh!

When the group arrived they discovered the plundered booth.  Not deterred they continued with a previously planned press conference at the booth.  As the press conference was underway the storm-trooper returned and stopped the press conference.  An exchange ensued, and here are some of the highlights:

            The banners were offensive and denied history.
            The manga books were “shit.”
            No permission was granted to conduct a press conference in the facility.
            He admitted to being the thief who stole the items from the booth.
            When requested to return the stolen items he refused.
            Police were requested to report the theft; he said they were already called.  Note: as of this writing some four days later the police never arrived.  Was the thief telling a lie or was that typical of French police response time?
            He said the money paid ($3,000) to rent the booth will be returned in full.
            He claimed the banner and manga was political and political displays were not allowed.

Japan bashing Angouleme France
When the provocateur was asked if the South Korean exhibit bashing Japan was political, he replied without hesitation, “no, because it is historic fact.”   Oui, oui!  To this provocateur the South Korean exhibit with one panel illustrated a Japanese World War Two era fighter, a Zero, flying while dropping women in the form of bombs.  Did the Japanese actually drop women from fighter planes?  So to France pure fiction is fact?  Not even Marshal Philippe Pétain would have fallen for that.      

A day or two later after the provocateurs actions was explained in a meeting with the Festival’s lawyer, at the heart of the provocateurs behavior was:

The Japanese booth was in violation of French law which prohibits denial of history.  The lawyer presented a copy of the law written in English and it did in fact read denying an historical fact was a violation of French law.  Since the South Korean exhibit illustrating women dropped as bombs from a Japanese fighter plane was labeled as historical fact, then the French must believe it did happen as illustrated.  Perhaps “Grimms' Fairy Tales” was French instead of German.    

Who in France decides what is historical fact?  Is there an Academy of Historical Fact?  Perhaps a Ministry of History?  The law was enacted to prevent extremism.  Basically an extremist law was passed to prevent extremism.  That is equivalent to throwing water at someone drowning to save that person.  It was obvious free speech, freedom of expression in France are not as cherished as in many democratic republics around the globe. 

To offer an alternate view on an historical event is a violation of the law in the French Republic according to the law as explained.  The French motto consists of three words:

“Liberte” (liberty)
“Egalite” (equality)
“Fraternite” (brotherhood)
Perhaps a fourth one should be added, “Hypocrite.”

Three officials from the Japanese Embassy in Paris traveled to Angouleme attempting to resolve the situation.  Their efforts met with stiff resistance from the French, and nothing positive resulted. 

At the town’s city hall was a press room.  When a member of the Japanese press attempted to enter, he was blocked by a security guard and asked, “Are you Japanese.” The reporter replied yes, and the guard prohibited him from entering.  Then the guard made a telephone call and got clearance to permit the Japanese reporter in the Press room.  It should be noted the reporter was wearing his press credential as issued by the Festival committee a few days earlier.  It was not as if the guard asked if he was part of the banned Japanese group clearly demonstrating any Japanese was banned. 

At this point it was evident of a clear anti-Japan bias by the Festival organizers, if not the town officials who were aware of the situation and made no known attempt to intervene. 

Angouleme, France City Hall

It would be easy to assign blame for the repugnant French behavior in Angouleme with the South Koreans, but sole responsibility lies squarely with the French officials.  Sure it reeked with South Korean motivation and a culmination of a clever insidious plan by the South Koreans.  However the ultimate decision was with the French in Angouleme and they decided to act by allowing an exhibit to bash Japan while denying Japan the opportunity to defend itself.  Vive La France?

YouTube videos of the confrontation with the Festival organizer:

Wikipedia entry on the festival:

Angoueleme website for the 2015 event:

United States Army 1944 report on captured Comfort Women:

Japan bashing Angouleme France comics festival

Angouleme, France (above panel was not in Angouleme)

Japan bashing Angouleme Comics Festival in France
Japan bashing Angouleme comics Festival in France

Angouleme, France Comics Festival
Angouleme International comics Festival

The wrath of the provocateur
Japan manga book banned by the Festival in Angouleme, France


Anonymous said...

Mr.Tony Marano.
It was a great job.
Japanese government was also referred to this incident.

The incident of "The International Comic Festival in Angouleme France,".
It has been turned into a big international issues very.
Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs conference(January 31, 2014) 05:17~

The incident of "The International Comic Festival in Angouleme France,".
Japan Prime Minister's Office, Chief Cabinet Secretary conference(January 31, 2014) 03:54~

The incident of "The International Comic Festival in Angouleme France,".
Japan parliament,
House of Representatives, Budget Committee 17:45~ # t = 1109

Anonymous said...

after WW2 Korean Japanese navy zero fighter pilot become the South Korean air force chief comander

Anonymous said...

Could you supply a link for your claim that "Incidentally a U.S. Army 1944 report makes the same evaluation, “well-paid prostitutes.”
Does that include the Dutch Prisoners-of-war, including teenagers, who were forced to become 'comfort women'? (

Unknown said...

The comfort women issue is a biggest hoax. For the past 20 odd years since the comfort women became a controversy, not even one family has come forward and said their daughter/sister was forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military. Not a single police report was submitted during the war although Korea claims 200,000 women were abducted by the Jse military. There was no riot then, and 800,000 Korean men tried to enlist int the Japanese military. The Korean government directly ran comfort stations during the Korean War...The Korean lies and hypocrisy are sicking.

Unknown said...

Dear Anonymous,

US Army 1944 report reports about only Korean women who worked in a comfort station in Berma.

Yujiro Taniyama talks about the Dutch prisoners of war in his Youtube video titled "Geisha, Tony Blair, and Comfort women" (43:50~):