Monday, Sep 24, 2012, 21:59:09

Ideology of Tintin and the The Blue Lotus.

It is difficult to establish the root, motivation and beginning of racism as we know it today. One of the major contributors to illustrated racism toward Japanese is of course Hergé using it to great effect in his Tintin manga The Blue Lotus.

Scan 2 copy.jpegAs a young artist Hergé was influenced by his mentors, specifically the Abbé Wallez, who encouraged Hergé to use Tintin as a tool for Catholic propaganda to influence Belgian children.

This shows in his earlier works within the Tintin series. As a result, European stereotypes pervade Hergé's early catalogue. A breakthrough came in 1934, when the cartoonist was introduced to Zhang Chongren, a Chinese student, who explained Chinese politics, culture, language, art, and philosophy to him, which Hergé used to great effect in The Blue Lotus.  The-Blue-Lotus.jpg mitsuhirato.jpg

His stereotype of the "bespectacled, deppa, sinister Japanese " was adapted by American writer Dr Seuss, alias Theodor Seuss Geisel by 1938.

Geisel published 46 children's books, which were often characterized by imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of anapestic meter. His most celebrated books include the bestselling Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 

Later Geisel turned to political cartoons depicted all Japanese Americans as latent traitors or fifth-columnists, while at the same time other cartoons deplored the racism at home against Jews and blacks that harmed the war effort. His cartoons were strongly supportive of President Roosevelt's handling of the war, combining the usual exhortations to ration and contribute to the war effort with frequent attacks on Congress. jap1.jpg jap2.jpg jap6.jpg

Never the less.

To find the root of Christian racism we have to go back further than that.

To understand the 20th century depigmented Neanderthal mind, we have to go back to Tarzan. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and then in twenty-five sequels, three authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, authorized and not. At the zenith of Chrisitian-Anglo-Saxon colonialism millions and millions of simple working class Americans and Europeans were fascinated and motivated by the plot.

Tarzan is the son of a British Lord and Lady who were marooned on the Atlantic coast of Africa by mutineers. When Tarzan was only an infant, his mother died of natural causes and his father was killed by Kerchak, leader of the ape tribe by whom Tarzan was adopted. Tarzan's tribe of apes is known as the Mangani, Great Apes of a species unknown to science. Kala is his ape mother. Burroughs added stories occurring during Tarzan's adolescence in his sixth Tarzan book, Jungle Tales of Tarzan. Tarzan is his ape name; his real English name is John Clayton, Earl Greystoke (the formal title is Viscount Greystoke according to Burroughs in Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Earl of Greystoke in later, non-canonical sources, notably the 1984 movie Greystoke). In fact, Burroughs's narrator in Tarzan of the Apes describes both Clayton and Greystoke as fictitious names – implying that, within the fictional world that Tarzan inhabits, he may have a different real name. tarz500.jpg

As a young adult, Tarzan meets a young American woman, Jane Porter. She, her father, and others of their party are marooned at exactly the same spot where Tarzan's biological parents were twenty years earlier. When Jane returns to America, Tarzan leaves the jungle in search of her, his one true love. In The Return of Tarzan, Tarzan and Jane marry. In later books he lives with her for a time in England. They have one son, Jack, who takes the ape name Korak ("the Killer"). Tarzan is contemptuous of the hypocrisy of civilization, and he and Jane return to Africa, making their home on an extensive estate that becomes a base for Tarzan's later adventures.

We must admit that Mr Burroughs "Tarzan sarushibai" is magnificently and successfully tailored for morons.

By Gabor Fabricius

 

P.S.

Zhang Chongren (simplified Chinese: 张充仁; traditional Chinese: 張充仁 ), was a Chinese artist and sculptor best remembered in Europe as the friend of Hergé, the Belgian comics writer and artist and creator of The Adventures of Tintin. The two met when Zhang was an art student in Brussels. Zhang was born the son of a gardener in 1907 in Xujiahui (Ziccawei), then a suburb of Shanghai, China. The young Zhang lost both his parents at an early age and grew up in the French jesuit orphanage of Tou-Se-we (now Tushanwan) where he entered at the age of seven, and where he learned French. He then entered the Art School of the orphanage, where he learned to draw, and was systematically educated in Western art.

After finishing school in 1928, Zhang worked with design for the film industry and at a local newspaper. In 1931, he left China for the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Belgium. Hergé's early Tintin albums were highly dependent on stereotypes for 'comedic' effect. These included evil Russian Bolsheviks, black Africans as lazy and dumb, and an America of gangsters and cowboys and Indians.

At the close of the newspaper run of Cigars of the Pharaoh, Hergé had mentioned that Tintin's next adventure (The Blue Lotus) would bring him to China.

Father Gosset, the chaplain to the Chinese students at the University of Leuven, wrote to Hergé urging him to be sensitive about what he wrote about China.

Hergé agreed, and in the spring of 1934 Gosset introduced him to Zhang Chongren. The two young artists quickly became close friends, and Zhang introduced Hergé to Chinese history, culture, and the techniques of Chinese art. As a result of this experience Hergé would strive, in The Blue Lotus and subsequent Tintin adventures, to be meticulously accurate in depicting the places Tintin visited.

For example, while Cigars of the Pharaoh takes place in an idealised India of Maharajas and British officials, The Blue Lotus has the look and feel of China of the 1930s torn apart by the occupying Japanese forces and the Western influence in Shanghai, including corrupt businessmen and police. As a token of appreciation, Hergé added the character "Chang Chong-Chen" (Tchang in original French-language version) to The Blue Lotus, a young Chinese orphan boy who meets and befriends Tintin. Hergé mocks his own naïveté deep inside the album when he has Tintin explain to the fictional Chang that his view of the 'white devils' is based on prejudice.

He makes it go both ways when Tintin recites a few Western stereotypes of the Chinese. Chang laughs this off as crazy. Chang would later return in Tintin in Tibet.

As another result of his friendship with Zhang, Hergé became increasingly aware of the problems of colonialism, in particular the Empire of Japan's advances into China, and the corrupt, exploitive International Settlement of Shanghai.

 

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