Japan’s nuclear disaster

Japan’s nuclear disaster


  • Bob

    I find this to be in poor taste.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    Bob, why is that? Donar is just putting the tsunami into artistic, historical context. There’s nothing humorous about it.

  • WHQ

    From Wikipedia, on the piece Donar modified:

    This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa. While sometimes assumed to be a tsunami, the wave is, as the picture’s title notes, more likely to be a large okinami lit. “wave of the open sea.” As in all the prints in the series, it depicts the area around Mount Fuji under particular conditions, and the mountain itself appears in the background.

    I’m not sure what historical context is provided, and I don’t see how taking a classic work of art and adding cartoonish depictions to it shouldn’t be interpreted as being humorous. Maybe Donar’s intent was not to be funny or derisive, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone to take it that way, thereby finding it in poor taste, given the nature of situation it relates to and the scale of the human suffering occurring.

  • kranky kritter

    I know the original art as well. I recall it being in a textbook I worked on, and it was in the context of a tsunami IIRC.

    I didn’t really have any sense of what the comment or joke was supposed to be. My impression was that its creation was little more than “well, there’s this famous Japanese art of a tsunami, and there’s been a tsunami, and now there’s a resulting problem with a nuke plant, so let’s scribble in a nuke plant.”

    But now, thinking it through, I think it’s clever to juxtapose the ancient imagery of man’s smallness in relation to nature’s vast power with the modern imagery of man’s puny power against a threat that we’ve brought upon ourselves. In other words, we like to think we’ve come so far in conquering aspects of nature which terrified us, but we’re as puny as ever. In seeking for millenia to grapple with and control nature, we’ve unleashed other natural powers which maybe we shouldn’t have fuc|<ed with. So now I see a rich irony and a very dark humor.

    I can see how someone would get offended if they presumed that the cartoon intended to make light of Japan's catastrophic misfortune. Though as I have understood and appreciated the genre over the years, editorial cartoons are not necessarily supposed to be for the purpose of jolly fun-making.

    That said, it never bothers me when someone thinks some art work is "in poor taste." Everyone is entitled to their subjective reaction to things like cartoons, books, movies, jokes, etc. I am always curious to explore someone else's reaction when it's different from mine, as long as we can have a discussion where that doesn't devolve into an argument about which of us is right. [That's an awful way to explore aesthetics.]

  • WHQ

    The man v nature interpretation is interesting, KK. But, of course, you’re wrong. (Well, not really; I just couldn’t resist. About the being wrong part, that is. It really is interesting.)

  • http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com/ donar

    Thanks Kranky, though I may not have done the original art any justice, my intention was to put it into the modern day context with some adjustments.

    Nuclear power is man kind’s Mt. Fuji…ironically a volcano ready to explode…the boat was a modern version of the classic fishing boat in the wood block.

    All be told, some times cartoons are presumed funny until proven serious…though some would even debate some of my work to be neither.