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SDF hopes people will answer call of duty (and cute anime girls)

20 Comments
By Casey Baseel

Given the less assertive role of the Japanese Self-Defense Force compared to a conventional military, it’s natural that the organization’s recruiting tends to be on the low-key side. The JSDF does indeed do invaluable work in disaster-relief and humanitarian missions, but the pitch to recruits is less hunting down the world’s villains and more holding the fort and being ready to lend a hand when people are in need.

Accordingly, the JSDF Coordination Office for Kagawa Prefecture, Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, has decided to go with showcasing the soft power-look of cute anime girls in its recruitment efforts.

In summer, the Kagawa SDF Coordination Office held a contest, calling for designs for a recruiting poster. The winning entry, designed by a student from the prefecture’s Anabuki Design College named Kasumi Uematsu, calls out to passersby with the words “Learn, decide, and act. You’ll be the hero.”

More than its vague slogans, though, the poster is garnering attention for its three attractive anime girls featuring uniforms from each of the three branches of the SDF. Front and center is a spunky redhead dressed in the cammies of the Ground SDF, and behind her are a cool and collected young lady sporting the Maritime SDF’s distinctive white cap, plus another young woman adorned in the Air Self-Defense Force uniform.

The Kagawa SDF Coordination Office’s counterparts in northern Miyagi Prefecture recently tweeted a photo of the poster, perhaps in a bid to encourage local artists to design a similarly cute piece of promotional material for them.

This isn’t all there is to Kagawa’s anime-themed PR efforts. A competition was also recently held to design official mascots for its Coordination Office, and the this time too the unnamed winner was a student from Anabuki Design College.

Sisters Ri, Mi, and Ku once again represent the three branches of the JSDF. Ri (whose name comes from Rikujo Jietai, or Ground Self-Defense Force), is the studious and conscientious big sister of the group, with a penchant for planning. Middle sister Mi (likely from umi/sea) is an old-fashioned girl who sometimes lets her reputation as the cutest of the three go to her head. And little sis Ku (from Koku Jietai/ASDF), the most leniently-raised of the trio, apparently doesn’t like feeling hot, so she always has a small paper fan clipped to her hair.

All three of the sisters have an upturned bowl for udon noodles atop their heads, as a nod to the local delicacy for which Kagawa is best known. One-upping Ku’s strange choice in hair accessories, Ri’s are shaped like the fish cakes and sliced green onions that are served with udon, while Mi’s are fashioned after olive-fed yellowtail tuna (Kagawa being the first place in Japan where olives were successfully cultivated).

The sisters are so adorable that it pains us to say that we’re absolutely certain that all three will fail inspection for their unauthorized uniform modifications and, in the case of Ri and Mi, non-regulation haircuts. Nonetheless, we wish all six of these brave young women the best of luck in what he hope will be long, successful service careers.

Sources: IT Media, Ministry of Defense

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20 Comments
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A competition was also recently held to design official mascots for its Coordination Office, and the this time too the unnamed winner was a student from Anabuki Design College.

If that is the work of a student from that design college, the person who designed it needs to study more. It's awful. I thought it had been done by a child. No wonder they don't want to be named.

Any recruits who join because they saw some dumb cartoon character on a poster, should only be given cleaning duties.

I thought Price Pickles was enough for the childish need for cartoon characters...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The Japanese people that like manga I certainly don't want to give a gun too

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Probie: "Any recruits who join because they saw some dumb cartoon character on a poster, should only be given cleaning duties."

Agreed. I wouldn't want them having a gun given the extreme violence in many manga.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Seriously? Do you really want people joining your military because they liked the stupid cartoon character you used to represent women in the military?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The ubiquitous solution to all Japanese problems, pay advertising companies huge sums of money to create a cute anime character or two!

TEPCO's U-chan and Pu-chan being the ultimate in safety mascots!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Do you really want people joining your military because they liked the stupid cartoon character you used to represent women in the military?

Come now, it's just an advertising tactic meant to draw attention. Nobody will join the military because they liked some cartoon characters, just like no one joined the US military because they liked the look of Uncle Sam.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well... I wanted to join the JDSF... but now that I see how not sreious they are. Forgot that. Why didt they try the whole honor thing. Or highest calling. Or serving your country. Or protecting the things you love. Or proudest job you can have. Or All you can be. Or try and challenge your self. Or a College fund. Or a lifetime of adventure. or part of the best team there is. Or a BILLION other things.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The Japanese people that like manga I certainly don't want to give a gun too

How about the Americans who read comic books, gogogo? Would you give guns to them? Look, here comes PFC Butkiss reading the latest copy of "Superman"... is he dysfunctional or a good soldier? Hmmm... get rid of him, he reads comics and is therefore unbalanced and likely to shoot his fellow soldiers. Utter rubbish - what people read in their free time does not dictate how they will behave as a soldier, sailor or pilot.

Anyway... I just hope the Ministry of Defence doesn't decide to introduce national service like some other countries. All that does is give you an army of reluctant soldiers. A professional army of career soldiers is what a country needs.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Well, that's one way to recruit people.... kinda genius if you ask me...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

war is definitely not cute...these ads are misleading.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The sisters are so adorable that it pains us to say that we’re absolutely certain that all three will fail inspection for their unauthorized uniform modifications and, in the case of Ri and Mi, non-regulation haircuts.

I was going to point this out, but the article already did so. Anybody expecting anime-style hairdos after they enlist are going to be sadly disappointed

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the other hand, all you nay-sayers, I wonder if the American military would be less testosterone driven if they were depicted as anime instead of over-muscled warriors. And yes, people do sign up because they like Uncle Sam. Anyway, don't those anime gals have daikon legs? OK OK, I like the characters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why does everything have to be kawaii anime mascot characters? Really, what is it with this? I can even see an anime mascot character for the park at Taiji now.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

On the other hand, all you nay-sayers, I wonder if the American military would be less testosterone driven if they were depicted as anime instead of over-muscled warriors.

They'd die in the battlefield.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They'd die in the battlefield.

And they don't already?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They'd die in the battlefield.

And they don't already?

In greater numbers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The old imperial troops will turn in their graves...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do the SD (super deformed) version of the characters look pregnant?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WTF?!?!

There is no way the leadership can think this is good for the military. Fine, SDF is not supposed to be an aggressor force. But military is still military - it exists to fight and kill. You don't defend the country by looking cute. You think the Mongols would have said, upon looking at the anime slogans, gee, maybe we shouldn't invade because those girls are so darn kawaii. Ok, the samurais didn't deter the Mongols either, but I'm sure if the banners had anime girls on them, the Mongols would have said, screw the typhoon, let's try again, those people are obviously in need of some real men.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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