Japanese Daily Rapped for Running "Hungry Caterpillar" Cartoon

Society

Tokyo, June 9 (Jiji Press)--The publisher in Japan of U.S. children's book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has lodged protest with the country's major daily Mainichi Shimbun against its running of a cartoon inspired by the book.

The cartoon by illustrator Shigi Yokota, titled "The Hungry IOC," appeared on the economic page of Saturday's morning edition.

It caricatured Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, and other IOC executives, depicting caterpillars with their faces biting "Olympic nuts" symbolizing the broadcasting rights for the Tokyo Games. A sentence saying "in remembrance of Eric Carle," the author and illustrator of the classic children's book, was attached. He died last month.

The Japanese publisher, Kaisei-Sha Publishing Co., posted a statement in the name of President Masaki Imamura on its official website Monday to express "a strong sense of discomfort."

While acknowledging the freedom of expression, the statement said it was "totally inappropriate to satirize greed for money" by using the caterpillar featured in the book as a motif.

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