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Ebola-Chan is a female anime character designed as an anthropomorphic representation of the Ebola virus. The character was created on 4chan in response to growing concerns regarding the West African Ebola outbreak in the summer of 2014.
The original image of a gijinka character for the Ebola virus, “Ebola-tan” (Japanese: エボラたん), was created by a pixiv user sly on August 4th, 2014. The earliest archived appearance of her on 4chan was submitted in a thread posted to the /a/ (anime) board on the same day, featuring an illustration of a young female anime character wearing a nurse outfit, holding a bloody skull and wearing a pony tail hair style ending in strains of the Ebola virus (shown below).
As early as August 7th, an image macro began circulating on 4chan boards featuring the same anime character illustration accompanied by a caption referring to her as “Ebola-Chan”, which urged readers to reply with the phrase “I Love You Ebola-Chan” in the comments section to avoid contracting a painful, fatal disease (shown below). On August 17th, the image was reblogged by the Cheezburger site Geek Universe. On August 18th, 2014, Redditor EsportsLottery submitted the original Ebola-Chan illustration to the /r/WTF subreddit on reddit, where it gained over 2,600 votes (87% upvoted) in the first week. Addinitionally, dozens of fanart for Ebola-chan are uploaded to deviantART.
“White People” Conspiracy Hoax
While the character began as a relatively innocuous fan art trend, others on the site soon began rallying behind an international scheme to fabricate a death cult movement based on a conspiracy hoax that Ebola was “invented by white people,” hoping it would catch on in the internet forums in regions where the local population have been heavily affected by the virus.
According to the excerpts of 4chan posts as cited by Vocative and International Business Times, some users openly expressed their desire to see the dissemination of such a racially divisive rumor, which would further incite the escalating tension between the blacks and whites in the continent:
Anonymous posted: “If this ends up in the news, increasing tensions between blacks and whites in Africa--where they are already superstitious and think Ebola is made by whitey… Sure, we’ve not seen the flowering of this yet, but it’s just been a few days of death cult posts. Ebola-chan herself isn’t that old either. Give it time to work.”
Anonymous posted: “If we keep it up, soon enough some African media will report it and people will start to spread the word that Ebola might be beign spreaded [sic] by the white devil and that’s enough to help Ebola-chan.”
By September 17th, the fandomization of Ebola-Chan on English-speaking imageboard communities had reached the earshot of Nigerian discussion forum Nairaland, where the character quickly became vilified as a “plague goddess” summoned by ill-wishing Westerners who perform “magical rituals in order to spread the disease and kill people.”
There is a new racist cult in Europe and America. They hate Africans and worship an ebola demoness who they call “Ebola-Chan”. They perform magical rituals in order to spread the disease and kill people. They target the area they want to infect next using blood sacrifices. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. Apparently even some Ebola doctors are part of the cult and instead of treating the disease are deliberately spreading it. I even heard rumour that they eat the heart of victims because they think it grants magical protection though I don’t know if that’s true. Some pictures of shrines and sacrifices I found:
Reddit – Meet Ebola-Chan, the anime mascot for the Ebola Virus. / Posted on 08-18-2014
Vocative – 4chan Racists Are Stoking Ebola Fear in Nigeria With This Anime Meme / 09-17-2014
International Business Times – Ebola is CIA-Created Demon? Conspiracy Theory Goes Viral as Meme Shows Disease Created by 'White People' / 09-19-2014