News Doraemon to be Japan's First "Anime Ambassador" (Updated)
posted on 2008-03-14 14:16 EDT by Egan Loo
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced on Friday that it has appointed the robotic cat Doraemon as its first "anime ambassador." Doraemon was the brainchild of the late Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, who created the original manga under the pen name of "Fujiko Fujio." The fictional robotic cat was sent by a boy in the future to the present day to help the boy's hapless grandfather. Doraemon has since appeared in two television anime series and dozens of anime movies. The cat will receive its official assignment dispatch from Minister Masahiko Kōmura in a Wednesday ceremony. He will then appear in films in Japanese missions to promote Japan's culture.
The ministry previously invited foreign reporters to meet with members of the anime industry, published a manga pamphlet starring Detective Conan to educate Japanese children on its mission, and gave complimentary copies of the Barefoot Gen manga at a nuclear non-proliferation meeting. Former Foreign Minister Tarō Asō also called upon French presidential candidate Segolene Royal to "read a little bit more" manga after Royal criticized manga, posted a Japanese essay about how the term "manga" has entered the vocabularies of other languages like "sushi," "tsunami," and "karaoke" have, and gave the ministry's first International Manga Award. The ministry also hosted the participants of last year's International Cosplay Summit, asked the United States to help stop illegal net releases of anime, and is expanding its Japanese-language outreach program with teachers "versed in manga, fashion, and other aspects of the latest Japanese culture."
Update: Doraemon's future sender corrected. Thanks, Chiaki777.