Hara-Kiri (magazine)  

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"Chômeurs ! c'est pas avec cette tête la que vous trouverez du boulot rasez-vous !" --Hara-kiri n°162 (March 1975)

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hara-Kiri was a monthly French satirical magazine, first published in 1960, the precursor to Charlie Hebdo. It was created by Georges Bernier, Cavanna and Fred Aristidès. A weekly counterpart, Hara-Kiri Hebdo, was first published in 1969.

Contributors included Melvin Van Peebles, Reiser, Roland Topor, Moebius, Wolinski, Gébé, Cabu, Delfeil de Ton, Fournier, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Willem. In 1966 it published Les Aventures de Jodelle, drawn by Guy Peellaert and written by Pierre Barbier.

Hara-Kiri editions, subtitled "Journal bête et méchant" ("Stupid and vicious magazine"), were constantly aiming at established powers, be they political parties or institutions like the Church or the State. In 1961 and 1966 the monthly magazine was temporarily banned by the French government.

Hara-Kiri Hebdo becomes Charlie Hebdo

In November 1970, following the death of Charles de Gaulle at his home in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, the weekly Hara-Kiri Hebdo bore the headline « Bal tragique à Colombey : 1 mort » (Eng: "Tragic ball in Colombey: 1 death").

The choice of the title refers to a tragedy of the same month: a fire at a discothèque where 146 people were killed. The chosen title was somehow downplaying the gravity of de Gaulle’s demise, by suggesting a comparison with a tragedy which had just earlier resulted in the loss of many more people. The government felt this editorial choice was an offence of lèse-majesté against the deceased President. As a result, the magazine was immediately and permanently banned from sale to minors and publicity by the minister of the interior Raymond Marcellin.

Charlie Hebdo was started immediately afterwards. Charlie in the title refers to General de Gaulle (said Georges Wolinski); but it was also the name of another magazine from Éditions du Square Charlie Mensuel, named after the character Charlie Brown from Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts.

See also

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