Reimagining Japan: Tintin, Hergé and the Enemy

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Tintin, a famous European comic book character created by the Belgian artist Hergé, travelled around the world fighting various guises of evil from 1929 onwards, reaching an international audience. This article analyses Hergé’s gaze on the Japanese, as expressed between 1933 and 1968, going beyond the frequently studied The Blue Lotus, but always connected to war and crime. A more structural analysis of the role of Japan in Hergé’s oeuvre, his gaze on the Japanese in wartime, with an eye for personal involvement, political context and commercial considerations, will explore how his ideas and representations of the Japanese relate to the political and military events of the 1930s and 1940s, in particular the Japanese occupation of China and its position during World War II. This illustrates how Tintin’s encounters with the Japanese developed over time, from an outspoken portrayal of evil Japanese against a Chinese background in the 1930s to a less engaged and more neutral representation during World War II, resulting in a post-war attempt to transcend wartime contradictions in merchandise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWar Memory and East Asian Conflicts, 1930–1945
EditorsEveline Buchheim, Jennifer Coates
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-23918-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-23917-5, 978-3-031-23920-5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameEntangled Memories in the Global South
PublisherPalgrave McMillan
ISSN (Print)2662-5687
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5695


  • Comics
  • graphic novels
  • World War II
  • memory culture
  • Japan
  • Belgium


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