“One Piece”: a term from the manga diverted to make anti-Semitic remarks

Many anti-Semitic posts use a reference from the manga on social media. A phenomenon that now affects schools.

Through ThePoint.fr

Since 1997, more than 104 volumes of “One Piece” have been published worldwide.
© RICCARDO MILANI / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP

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Ua trend that sends shivers down your spine. While breaking all sales records, manga One Piece is now increasingly misused for anti-Semitic purposes. According to our colleagues from Parisianmany Internet users use the term “Celestial Dragons” to post anti-Jewish comments on social networks, surfing – among other things – on the hateful prejudices of which Jews are victims: influence in the media, stingy, etc.

Sold more than 5 million copies in 2021 in France, more than 100 volumes (104, to date) of this franchise have been published since 1997, year of launch of the series. What is the relationship between this manga and the Jews? Absolutely none. According to several specialists of the Japanese work, questioned by our colleagues, “nothing, in the plot, relates to this religion”. So where does this Celestial Dragons reference come from? In history, this term refers to a people “ultra-rich” and “traveling on the back of slaves”. “It is against them that the hero rebels”, details an assiduous reader of the manga to our colleagues.

READ ALSOThe manga, angel or demon? Although no Jewish reference is present in these books, many Internet users no longer hesitate to make anti-Semitic remarks by using the “Celestial Dragons”. On an alleged “appetite” for money, one of them writes for example: “I swore the celestial dragons love money too much”, reports The Parisian. According to Julien Bouvard, lecturer in Japanese culture in Lyon, these anti-Semitic statements are “a total misinterpretation, it is the result of a misdirection of the readers”, he judges.

Similar facts in middle school

Worse still, this term is now used by young college students during history lessons. And our colleagues cite an example in an establishment in the Ile-de-France, where some students “did not see the harm”. “Behind their humor, they thought a little that the Jews controlled everything. The teacher had a hard time holding the course” devoted to the Second World War, explains Nathan, interviewed by the national daily.

The expression used by these Internet users is also a way to avoid being banned from the platforms and, if necessary, being prosecuted. Although, it must be remembered, the platforms are not known for their great speed in terms of moderation, like Twitter. These last months, the company’s workforce dedicated to this task melted like snow in the sun, with the arrival of Elon Musk.