Japanese publisher Shogakukan Inc. said Tuesday it is withdrawing the latest issue of a monthly cartoon magazine including an insulting picture of Mongolia's national hero Genghis Khan, after it drew a barrage of criticism from Mongolians.
The March edition of "Korokoro Comic," which went on sale on Feb. 15, contains a cartoon mocking the founder of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century with a crude sketch of male genitalia across his forehead.
Mongolia had lodged a diplomatic protest with Japan over the cartoon through its embassy in Tokyo, while about 90 Mongolian residents in Japan held a protest rally in front of the publisher's building in late February.
The company said it will recall the comic for children from bookstores across the country and reimburse buyers of the magazine. The withdrawal is aimed at "deeply apologizing to those who love Genghis Khan and avoiding any confusion in bookstores," it said.
Shogakukan said it will later post on its website detailed information about reimbursements.
"I deeply regret that I did not understand Mongolian history and culture. From now on, I will sincerely study and respect the history and culture of various countries (and reflect them) in cartoon descriptions," said Asumi Yoshino, the author of the controversial piece, on the publisher's website.
On Feb. 23, Shogakukan offered an apology to Dambadarjaa Batjargal, the charge d'affaires at Mongolia's embassy in Tokyo, but the protests led to suspension of the magazine's sales at major bookstore chain Kinokuniya Co.