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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