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Big in Japan: Giant anime cat is Japan's new foreign ambassador
If you thought that the political world of international diplomacy was dry and boring, then guess again!
Last week in Japan, government leaders shocked the world by announcing that their latest ambassador to the world is a giant anime cat.
Of course, we're not just talking about any old cat, but none other than Doraemon (??????????????), Japan's beloved anime robo-cat, that traveled back in time from the 22nd century to aid a schoolboy, Nobita Nobi.
On Tuesday, March 19, Japan's foreign minister, namely Masahiko Komura, appointed a giant stuffed Doraemon as Japan's first "anime ambassador" tasked with "making friends by travelling around the world."
Doraemon responded by saying the following : "Through my work, I will do my best to tell people in foreign countries about what Japanese think, how Japanese live and what kind of future the Japanese hope to make."
The ceremony concluded with television crews filming Doraemon shaking hands with real flesh-and-blood foreign dignitaries from around the world.
Isn't Japan an amazing place?
In case you're a bit confused as to who Doraemon is, and why he may be standing near you at an airport security line in the near future, keep on reading!
For starters, Doraemon is the main character in one of Japan's most popular anime series, which has also become widely known in much of Asia.
Created by a cartoonist under the pen name Fujiko F. Fujio in 1969, Doraemon is a robotic blue and white cat (sans ears of course) who travels back in time to help a struggling school boy.
The manga was highlighted by Doraemon's seemingly bottomless pocket on his belly, from which he would pull out all sorts of crazy futuristic gadgets known as dōgu (道具, literally tools).
Over the past several decades, Doraemon is believed to have pulled out roughly 4,500 different kinds of dōgu from his 'fourth-dimensional' pocket including everything from time machines and helicopters to bamboo horses and sniffer octopuses.
However fanciful the universe of Doraemon might be, his most recent appointment as Japan's cultural ambassador is serious business.
In fact, Japan's international popularity has waned significantly in recent years following a number of controversies including various World War II denial scandals and increased whaling efforts.
Which is of course why the Japanese government is extremely keen to promote the country's strong cultural attributes, such as the weird and wonderful world of manga.
Just ask foreign minister Komura, who instructed Doraemon to "travel around the world as an anime ambassador to deepen people's understanding of Japan so they will become friends with Japan."
Alongside Doraemon's diplomatic tour, the Japanese foreign ministry also plans to arrange showings of a Doraemon film at a number of diplomatic missions around the world including Singapore, China, Spain and France.
So, with election fever on everyone's mind in the States, I guess it brings up the question of whether or not a giant anime cat is as effective of a politician as some of our country's leading candidates.
I'll of course leave that question up to all of you out there!