stephen peray The Nation tsunami cartoon sumo wrestler grim reaper

Sherff's cartoon for The Nation depicting a sumo wrestler as the grim reaper surfing on a tsunami wave (click to enlarge)

The Nation, an English-language newspaper from Thailand, issued an apology today for a cartoon they published following an earthquake that sent destructive waves onto Japan’s coast.

The cartoon, drawn by The Nation’s editorial cartoonist Stephen Peray (who goes by the pen name “Sherff”), featured the Grim Reaper as a sumo wrestler surfing on the wave of a tsunami on a surfboard in the shape of Japan.

“The Nation deeply regrets the fact that the cartoon, which followed the artist’s other work in which he shared his grief with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims, has offended several readers,” the paper wrote in an editorial on their opinion page.

“The Grim Reaper is not meant to be understood as a humorous character and is often used in editorial cartoons in the West to signify a tragedy involving loss of life,” Stephff wrote in an additional editorial for the paper.  “But I quite agree that on this occasion this cartoon was inappropriate and something softer should have been used.”

Yesterday, the Malaysian daily newspaper Berita Harian apologized for running a cartoon showing the popular Japanese icon Ultraman running away from an oncoming tsunami in their Sunday comment page.

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