Japan Self-Defense Force Applications Rise With Adoption of Mascots

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Japan Self-Defense Force Applications Rise With Adoption of Mascots

Japan Self Defense Force Anime Mascots

Three military-styled female anime characters are all what it takes to increase volunteer numbers in the Japan Self-Defense Force by 20 percent.

Last July the Japan Self-Defense Force's Okayama Provincial Cooperation Office began using three anime mascots to represent three military branches and its uniforms. Upon introducing the three characters, applications for the JSDF have increased by 20% in the Okayama prefecture.

From left to right, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army) is characterized by Momoe Kibi, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy) has Mizuho Seto, and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force) is typified by Airi Bizen. These characters are far from the first to be considered "military-inspired moe." The characters' aesthetic is similar to Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer, both of which have characters created by Humikane Shimada, who also designed the JSDF characters.

The first mascot, Momoe, was introduced in July. JSDF printed 500 flyers of the character for a comics sales event. By August for the introduction of Mizuho and Airi, popularity of the mascots had spread outside Okayama, and 6,500 calendars and 90,000 postcards were all taken at a promotion.

It's worth mentioning that if someone needs to be motivated by an anime character to join a military branch, perhaps that person is not suited to be in the military. Cuteness certainly sells.

Source: MSN Sankei via Anime News Network

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Well, army applications in the US rose after they released that "America's Army" game and the stereotype at the time was that anyone who played videogames was a fat nerd. I don't see how this is any different.

Also relevant.

Cause nothing says cute quite like a hail of rockets from a gunship.

When I was in the navy, when I was first attached to a ship, and had started my cranking (basically mandatory kitchen duty for 6 months) one of the cooks on board the ship needed to drum up interest in a program for the captain. He created an moe-moe anime girl mascot for the posters and attached her image to e-mails advertising it... took him a week to get the attention he needed.

Between the internet explorer thing and this, it seems there is some strong appeal to adorable mascots.

I was under the impression that over-pandering had made anime unappealing outside the hardcore otaku circles, even in japan. I'm pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. XD

Slycne:
Also relevant.

Cause nothing says cute quite like a hail of rockets from a gunship.

I see what Japan is doing. They are preparing for WWIII! They know our troops will lose morale when forced to gun down cute Japanese girls!

Those bastards!

Oh, that wasn't too bad of an idea. I've always wondered what happened to mascots, overall.

I've always felt the Nordic countries needs a coordinated self-defense pact of sorts. It wouldn't exactly be easy, with a complicated relationship to NATO and plenty of individual egoes in the way. But the mascot question should be easy to solve, at least.

All the Nordic countries features a lion on their coat of arms. Presumably because elks or herrings aren't particularly inspiring animals in comparison. The defence initiative's mascot should easily be a team of those lions working together, perhaps in different roles.

Although the Finland lion could do with a more... Flattering portrayal.

Fappy:

Slycne:
Also relevant.

Cause nothing says cute quite like a hail of rockets from a gunship.

I see what Japan is doing. They are preparing for WWIII! They know our troops will lose morale when forced to gun down cute Japanese girls!

Those bastards!

I might just have dreamed it up in some sort of terrible fever once, but I think I remember seeing a wartime propaganda anime somewhere.
It was very odd, with stern, intrepid children and cute bearpeople fighting spindly British soldiers in shorts. And the British had an anthropomorphic rat man in their team, too.

It was oddly hilarious, watching the British flail about with their spaghetti arms while teddy bears with machine guns were advancing, led by a ten year old boy with a bandana and a kantana overlooking the unconditional surrender with a very, very stoic look on his face.

I wonder what mascot would work for the US Military?

Ehh, maybe I'm being a killjoy, but making the military "cute" rubs me the wrong way. But then, I'm very repulsed by any kind of military fetishism, especially since my own military service. (*grumble* fucking conscription *grumble*)

Oops double post, sorry

DTWolfwood:
I wonder what mascot would work for the US Military?

A gun on legs wearing only the flag of the USA, bald eagle optional.

If Japan actually had an army of cute girls with multi-coloured hair they'd probably dominate the world. Nothing can kill an anime girl!

Certainly more alluring than Uncle Sam, I'd say. I really like the airforce girl. Did I ever mention my favourite colour is blue?
...and now there's the issue with the military being "alluring". Despite what I said, this approach really weirds me out.

Slycne:

Cause nothing says self-defense quite like a hail of rockets from a gunship.

There. Fixed. Got to make sure Japan keeps in line with those post-WWII anti-militarism policies. ;)

But, yeah, old news, I know. As of May 2013, Japan has started work on full-scale rearmament of the country. Probably explains the moe (to increase enlistment), but I wonder why they're still called the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Renaming was supposed to be a part of that active rearming.

20 percent.

I'd understand a rise of maybe a tenth of that, but to have it result in a situation where there's a 6th recruit for every 5 is just ridiculous.

From goddamn cartoon characters.

CriticalMiss:

If Japan actually had an army of cute girls with multi-coloured hair they'd probably dominate the world. Nothing can kill an anime girl!

I know I would have trouble pulling the trigger.

They do look like girls straight out of Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer (love those shows). I wonder what the mindset is for someone to join the military because of a picture of cute anime girls. I mean I bought those two shows and enjoy them repeatedly because of the cuteness, but never in a million years would I consider joining an actual fighting army because of them.

That or maybe increased military tensions with a global superpower right next-door. One of the two.

...yeah I'm going to have to see some numbers before I believe it's the mascot. If it's just this one area and there haven't been similar increases elsewhere fine. But I have to actually see those numbers first

DTWolfwood:
I wonder what mascot would work for the US Military?

Four of the divisions already have known mascots - Bulldog(USMC), mule(Army), goat(Navy), and falcon(Air Force). However, the same four bear a bald eagle on their traditional emblems (not the modernized emblems they use for public image), so yeah, this was kind of covered about a century ago...

Why is this a surprise? Using attractive women on military recruitment posters is a world wide thing. These girls are just less realistic and more cartoon...

I really don't think anyone from the US has any right to talk down to this considering every damn time I saw an Army recruitment station at the local fair or high school they always had a Xbox hooked up to the truck with the latest COD playing. Until a draft is ever required again (god forbid things ever get THAT bad again) all volunteer armed forces are gonna need some way to lure in young men to join them, they use anime we use Call of Duty.

Military moe

Oh dear gods - that is so adorable, and yet so eerily wrong

I'd love to see a division formed out of those who enlisted because of these mascots. :D

Also, they need a mascot for the medical division, I'd go for a schoolgirl with PTSD.

MinionJoe:

Slycne:

Cause nothing says self-defense quite like a hail of rockets from a gunship.

There. Fixed. Got to make sure Japan keeps in line with those post-WWII anti-militarism policies. ;)

But, yeah, old news, I know. As of May 2013, Japan has started work on full-scale rearmament of the country. Probably explains the moe (to increase enlistment), but I wonder why they're still called the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Renaming was supposed to be a part of that active rearming.

Probably because, while the renaming would be practically irrelevant, it might give China a legit excuse to publicly lose their shit. When squaring up against the PLA, the last thing Japan wants to do is to look like the aggressor.

balladbird:

I was under the impression that over-pandering had made anime unappealing outside the hardcore otaku circles, even in japan. I'm pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. XD

There are two points of confusion on this issue:

1. Otakudom's western perception as a shunned niche, has been exaggerated by the backlash against weeabooism. At first some people exaggerated how Japan is the Promised Land of Otaku, and appropriated the phrase as a badge of honor. To mock their enthusiasm, others have gleefully rubbed in any anti-otaku or anti-anime news from Japan that they could find, about how Japan actually views them as pathetic immature neckbeards. In reality, otaku roughly means "geek" in Japan, both with it's history as an insult, and it's recently hip usage for all pop culture fans.

2. Anime as a medium *IS* a hardcore otaku field in Japan, but that only applies to the series, not to the art style or to games, manga, light novels, and other moe designs, which are more popular.

For random cultural reasons, it happened that while millions would read moe manga in public, very few would buy it's late night anime adaptation.

this is similar to how comic books are a hardcore geek niche in the west, while their characters, their superpower ideas, and aesthetics are "mainstream geek".

DTWolfwood:
I wonder what mascot would work for the US Military?

Probably like something Andrew Bawidamann would produce.

Alterego-X:
There are two points of confusion on this issue:

1. Otakudom's western perception as a shunned niche, has been exaggerated by the backlash against weeabooism. At first some people exaggerated how Japan is the Promised Land of Otaku, and appropriated the phrase as a badge of honor. To mock their enthusiasm, others have gleefully rubbed in any anti-otaku or anti-anime news from Japan that they could find, about how Japan actually views them as pathetic immature neckbeards. In reality, otaku roughly means "geek" in Japan, both with it's history as an insult, and it's recently hip usage for all pop culture fans.

2. Anime as a medium *IS* a hardcore otaku field in Japan, but that only applies to the series, not to the art style or to games, manga, light novels, and other moe designs, which are more popular.

For random cultural reasons, it happened that while millions would read moe manga in public, very few would buy it's late night anime adaptation.

this is similar to how comic books are a hardcore geek niche in the west, while their characters, their superpower ideas, and aesthetics are "mainstream geek".

This is the best synopsis of the issue I have yet seen; thank you.

Also, I note that the number of volunteers has increased by 20%, which is substantial, sure, but... considering the apparent reason behind the new wave of volunteering, just how many of those are likely to be able to pass military physicals? God knows I couldn't, and I'm not even all that out of shape by geek standards.

id love to be the fly on the wall listening to that conversation "you decided to join the army because of a cartoon character??"

Bwahahahaha!
I freaking love it.

Reminds me of the "Ah My Goddess" airforce jet:

Rain down hell.

Wow, you mean propaganda and marketing towards a certain goal and ideal makes certain people affected positively by said propaganda engage in such activities?

Like all propaganda, this is disturbing. America should start doing this. Put a few posters up with stuff like "Miku says Bradley is a bad man!" or a cutesy anime character to represent the NSA and the young people won't be protesting anymore. Jesus...

Since this is the Strike Witches guy, they should have just left the skirts off - applications up 50% at least.

Ok, so I'm guessing by appearance that the purple-haired one is a tsundere and the blonde perhaps a childhood friend. Not really sure what anime archetype pinky would be.

Fappy:
snip

You don't have a cat that may or may not be from ghost story anymore!

Life as I know it is crushed.

Gut Reaction:

Wouldn't this sorta tick off the old guard?

Hey guys, you know those mascots that represent a long, proud history of your unit? Yeah, the official mascot is now an anime girl that the creator of Strike Witches made for us. Don't worry fellas, recruitment's up!

The amount of shit the Okinawa branch is going to get from the other branches... Maybe that will raise morale overall. Unless the military has never had mascots before.

Why it makes sense:

I could understand if there's lot of love for Strike Witches in the military.

It's just the natural progression from painting girl on jets.

Fappy:

Slycne:
Also relevant.

Cause nothing says cute quite like a hail of rockets from a gunship.

I see what Japan is doing. They are preparing for WWIII! They know our troops will lose morale when forced to gun down cute Japanese girls!

Those bastards!

Kamikaze soon to be replaced by kawaii. They must be stopped!

OT: I'm at a loss for words here, but I am disturbed at how easy it is to manipulate the masses... what's really funny is that it was easier to use anime girls to get people to join the army than to start using Internet Explorer...

I suspect this might come up at Feed Dump, seems just up their road.

But... the Air Force has Strike Witches already! The Army has Girls und Panzer, and the fucking Navy has at least Arpeggio Japanese-name-can't-recall and that new one that's not out yet but there's already so much porn of it.... Kantai Collection, that's it.

Come on Japan; leverage your existing assets first, eh.

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