Imagine for a moment, you are running a nation built upon a feudal tradition of straight-up, no-foreigners-allowed isolationism. Further alienating yourself from your neighbors, you continually ignore their requests that you formally apologize for massacring their civilians and forcing their women into prostitution last century. More recently, you've managed to irritate the rest of the world by resuming whaling in the Antarctic and by subjecting all non-Japanese (even permanent residents) to fingerprinting and interrogation at the border. You are also marking the first anniversary of a high-profile murder case which you bungled so severely, the killer of a foreign English teacher managed to escape nine Japanese police officers, barefoot. And you still can't find him!
This is definitely the time to appoint an animated robocat from the future to be your next foreign ambassador!
TOKYO: Japan has created an unusual government post to promote animation, and named a perfect figure to the position: Doraemon.
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura appointed the popular cartoon robot cat as "anime ambassador" on Wednesday, handing a human-sized Doraemon doll an official certificate at an inauguration ceremony...."Doraemon, I hope you will travel around the world as an anime ambassador to deepen people's understanding of Japan so they will become friends with Japan," Komura told the blue-and-white cat.
The appointment is part of Japan's recent effort to harness the power of pop culture in diplomacy....This year, the ministry plans to arrange showings of a Doraemon film in Singapore, China, Spain, France, and at other Japanese diplomatic missions around the world.
Doraemon — through voice actress Wasabi Mizuta, who spoke from behind a sliding paper screen — promised Komura that "Through my cartoons, I hope to convey to people abroad what ordinary Japanese people think, our lifestyles and what kind of future we want to build."
Created by cartoonist Fujiko F. Fujio, Doraemon is a Japanese cultural icon and is popular around the world, especially in Asia. The robotic cat travels back in time from the 22nd century and uses gadgets such as a "time machine" and an "anywhere door" that come out of a fourth-dimensional pocket on his stomach to help his friends, allowing them to travel anywhere and to any time they wish.
Astro Boy, another cartoon icon, was named last November as ambassador for overseas safety.