Furious Japan slams BBC over jokes about survivor of A-bombs
London: The Japanese Embassy in London blasted BBC after an episode of its comedy quiz show QI made joke about a survivor of the atomic bomb attacks in the country during World War II.
According to Tokyo, the show insulted Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person recognised by the Japanese government as having survived both the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and that of Nagasaki three days later– which killed as many as 200,000 Japanese.
Panelists and the studio audience were seen laughing and joking about the experience of Yamaguchi, who was described on the programme as “The Unluckiest Man in the World”.
The corporation has been described as insensitive over the broadcast, while the man’s family said they could not forgive the show.
The businessman, who died last year at 93, was badly burned in the first attack but got on a train the next day to go home to Nagasaki.
On the episode of QI, which was first broadcast shortly before Christmas, comedians such as Alan Davies and Rob Brydon were seen joking about his story.
Davies, when asked to work out what the man’s link to the nuclear attack was, suggested the “bomb landed on him and bounced off”.
When host Stephen Fry asked whether the man had been lucky or unlucky, Brydon said: “Is the glass half-empty, is it half-full? Either way it’s radioactive. So don’t drink it.”
“He never got the train again, I tell you,” a daily Davies as adding.
But the jokes were too much for some Japanese viewers. One contacted diplomatic staff in London while others are understood to have emailed the show. Embassy officials reviewed the footage and sent a protest letter to both the BBC and producers Talkback Thames.
Yamaguchi’s daughter Toshiko Yamasaki said she could not forgive the show “as it looked down on my father’s experience”.
A QI producer said “we greatly regret it when we cause offence” and admitted he “underestimated the potential sensitivity of this issue to Japanese viewers”.
The BBC apologized for “any offence caused” and said it would be writing to the Japanese Embassy.