Japanese Twitter users are defying their country's hostage crisis by mocking ISIS with a nationwide Photoshop battle of satirical images.
ISIS on Tuesday released a video showing 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, a self-styled private security consultant, kneeling and handcuffed next to a black-clad militant who threatened to kill the two hostages within 72 hours unless a $200 million ransom was paid.
In the video, the ISIS member warns the Japanese public that it has 72 hours to pressure the government to pay the ransom. Shortly after the video's release, however, Japanese Twitter users began using a mocking hashtag to share images mocking the militants.
The phrase, which loosely translates to "ISIS Crappy Photoshop Grand Prix," has been mentioned more than 60,000 times over the past few days, according to social analytics company Topsy. These tweets include screengrabs from various ISIS hostage videos photoshopped in comical ways, and many of the images reference Japanese gaming culture.
In a news conference Thursday morning, Japan’s government said the current hostage situation was difficult but they would not give in to the demands issued by terrorists.
"We are doing everything possible to ensure the release of the hostages. Japan will not cave in to terrorism ," said Japanese chief cabinet secretary and top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.
Suga said his government estimates the deadline will come at 12:50 a.m. ET Friday.