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Japan Cartoon Yahtzees

Every once and a while, cartoonists working hundreds of miles apart will conjured up similar ideas for a cartoon on the same subject. When five or more cartoonists draw the same gag, we refer to these as “Yahtzees.” Our most recent Yahtzee featured Leslie Nielsen and his famous “don’t call me Shirley” line from “Airplane.”

In the aftermath of the disaster that has devastated Japan, several cartoon Yahtzees have emerged from the cartoonists covering this tragic, ongoing event.

As they tend to be instantly-recognizable visual metaphors, cartoonists often use a country’s flag in their cartoon commentary. The Japanese flag is no different, as these cartoonists show:

Manny Francisco / Manila, The Phillippines

Martin Sutovec / Slovakia

Hajo de Reijger / The Netherlands



R.J. Matson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Petar Pismestrovic / Kleine Zeitung, Austria

Brian Adcock / Scotland

Another visual metaphor that is conjured up by the tsunami is “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” a famous woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. This was also used by several cartoonists:

Martin Sutovec / Slovakia

R.J. Matson / St. Lous Post-Dispatch

Peter Lewis / Australia, PoliticalCartoons.com

Frederick Deligne / France, PoliticalCartoons.com

Aislin / Montreal Gazette

Kap / Spain

Finally, as the news broke of the possible meltdown of several nuclear reactors, another similar thought crept into the mind of several cartoonists: Godzilla. The famous Japanese icon made its way into at least five cartoons about the disaster, qualifying it as the third unique cartoon Yahtzee:

David Fitzsimmons / Arizona Daily Star

Gark Markstein / Creators

Dave Granlund / PoliticalCartoons.com

Olle Johansson / Sweden

Paul Zanetti / Australia