Wall Street Journal Criticizes Use of Anime to Promote Japan

posted on 2007-08-31 12:13 EDT
Article calls anime and manga "ill-suited" for use in international publicity campaigns

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal looks at recent efforts by the Japanese government to use anime and manga to promote Japan's image abroad. It particularly notes this year's launch of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) International Manga Award contest, and its upcoming Anime Ambassador program. According to the article, the MOFA plans to spend at least 20 million yen (US$175,000) annually on similar undertakings.

The article's author, Bianca Bosker, a student at Princeton University, is critical of such efforts, in part because of what she calls the "highly sexualized nature" of some manga. She also notes that Japanese comics frequently give negative impressions of life in Japan. Bosker argues that citizens of other countries may perceive these attempts as propaganda by the Japanese government, or as attemps to retell history from a Japanese viewpoint.

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