Japan Cartoon Yahtzees

Every once and a while, cartoonists working hundreds of miles apart will conjure 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:

John Sherffius / Boulder Daily Camera
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
Frederick Deligne / Nice-Matin, Nice, France
Aislin / Montreal Gazette
Kap / Spain
Mike Keefe / Denver Post

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 /
Olle Johansson / Sweden
Paul Zanetti / Australia
Godzilla Japan Tsunami
Steve Kelley / Times-Picayune
Bill Schorr / Cagle Cartoons

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post. For the past 35 years, Daryl has been one of America’s most prolific cartoonists.