The Islamic State (ISIS) on Tuesday, 20 January, released a video, threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless the government of Japan paid USD200 million in ransom within 72 hours
#ISIS says that the ransom demand was to compensate for non-military aid that PM Shinzo Abe pledged to support the campaign against ISIS.— Latest on SAYS (@saysdotcom) January 20, 2015
While the Japanese government responded, saying they wouldn't give in to terrorism, Japanese on social media took a whole different but defiant turn through a hashtag called #ISISクソコラグランプリ or the "ISIS Crappy Collage Grand Prix"
According to the social analytics site Topsy, the hashtag using Photoshopped images, screen-grabbs from the video, mocking ISIS has been used more than 83,000 times so far
While the fate of two Japanese hostages now remain unknown as the 72-hour deadline given by the Islamic State passed on Friday, the Japanese social media users are not giving up in their attempt to mock the terror group, unleashing meme warfare on ISIS
However, there's also support for the terror group as many sympathisers of ISIS have responded back in similar manner
Explaining the hashtag's overall meaning to Business Insider, Peter Payne, the owner of J-List.com, an online store that sells Japanese goods, said:
"You can kill some of us, but Japan is a peaceful and happy land, with fast Internet. So go to hell."businessinsider.in
Many Japanese blogs are reporting how the memes have allegedly angered ISIS members. While a number of people have also expressed amazement at the posts, saying the Japanese aren't taking the threat seriously.
The concern, obviously, is that the Japanese social media users might seem too light-hearted about the lives of the two Japanese hostages. Or perhaps, they're using humour to resist being controlled through fear?
Making a point, Know Your Meme, an online meme database, said:
What is clear, however, is that the Japanese social media users are refusing to bow down to demands that they pressure the Japanese government to pay up
Some online users also think the Japanese are handling the situation very well, noting that yes, ISIS has two men hostage and their lives are at stake, but if the Japanese just gives into ISIS' demands, chances are more will be at risk