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Cartoon bird warns Fukushima children of radiation


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© 2012 AFP

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Keep smiling Kiribatan, that way you won't get leukaemia, or thyroid cancer or a heart attack. Yes kiddies, gargle for all you're worth, that way lies salvation.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Just sad. Indeed, keep smiling and you won't get sick. Never mind the cover-ups and "errors" in readings and the like. Just listen to the happy, yellow bird kids.

8 ( +9 / -1 )


12 ( +11 / -0 )

It's always annoyed me about Japan that anything dangerous has to be explained by way of a cute blobbish character with tiny hands or wings, either in mascot or poster form. Is the country that precious that it can't deliver warnings normally?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

On Thursday the government admitted that some radiation measurements were inaccurate, saying devices at 675 locations in and around Fukushima were under-reporting levels by around 10%, Kyodo News agency reported.

This sort of reporting annoys me, because it is statistics completely devoid of context and meaning. Would the 10% under-reporting make any material difference? I mean if it's 1millisv to 1.1millisv then it hardly seems like a big deal, but the article gives no indication if these were important or meaningful mismeasurements, or even if they were deliberate vs accidental, i.e did they have the right figures and purposefull under-report (in which case the person responsible should be fired), or did they merely have faulty equipment or average the results over time or something similar?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What a mockery.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Only in Japan would they do this kind of thing -- hire some fool to create a cute and cuddly cartoon character to 'warn' of very serious and very real dangers that could cause extreme suffering and cut short young lives. Instead of sending in a cartoon character that kids will want to stand beside and take a pic with, the government should be getting the people out of affected areas. "Don't drink from radioactive puddles or play in ditches"? How about removing people from the dangers?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

so cute

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

File this under the "only in Japan" file.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The children should have been and need to be evacuated. Criminal.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

This country will never grow up, they shud change the name from Japan to Never Never Land!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

We are in the hands of people we know we cannot trust. Corrupt men unable to manage anything much less this huge problem.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Very sad to see children at risk

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Don't worry kids all the cysts are benign. There are no malignant growths in Japanese medical examinations… Jeezus. SOMEONE call SOMEONE!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nice to see money well spent.

Is the Japanese solution to everything to have a stupid character?

11 ( +11 / -1 )

Dose glow in the dark, roll on the ground in agony bleeding from every orifus making a screeching noise or just make goo goo noses? What a wash over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hope that cartoon is so good. Also i hope that is cartoon would ask to children that is more dangerous is dust.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least it's not Pluto-kun.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

awesome, typical jp...use a cutesy mascot to represent a potentially life threatening object, ...which in itself implicitly suggests its not a big deal, not to be taken too seriously

pathetic is right

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Probie: "Is the Japanese solution to everything to have a stupid character?"

That, and the soon-to-follow tarento ambassador, yes.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

What the children are facing in Fukushima:


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kibitan hey, ok I'll play along. What would it's bio go like? A friendly yet not very intelligent bird, near-sighted so prone to miss the forest from the tress. Has a nasty habit of spitting in the face of worried parents. Close relative of the sheep, will follow eagerly without question.

Does that sound about right? Nice way to trivialize exposing people (children in particular) to radiation caused by criminal negligence and gross incompetence.

Sorry to kill the dream Kibitan, bit nobody should living around places that have radioactive puddles as a regular feature.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

How much did this travesty cost?

We're all paying more tax for the next 30-odd years to "help with the reconstruction". So in addition to refitting the whaling fleet and promoting the SkyTree, how much of our money was weed away on telling kids that a cute symbol is all you need to avoid the cancers living in their contaminated wasteland will inevitably cause?

You're living in radioactive dust. No amount of cuteness is going to block that out. God help those poor children, because the old men in Kasumigaseki certainly won't. They're too busy figuring out new ways to stuff their pockets.

I want a price tag on this. Is anyone with me?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

So the story is about the logo, not the actual issue. Don't mention the radiation the lifetime negative effects,...here have a mascot it never coughs, never losses it's hair does not die a slow lingering death, look it's cute. We have money for many things just not enough for children living in a toxic environment...have a mascot.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I like kawaii-culture just fine, but this actually disgusts me. Radiation is a serious problem that the government has been essentially covering up, people in these areas with kids need to MOVE. Do NOT risk your kid getting sick, and making a mockery of this by creating a stupid character.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Lovely, more comic characters to the rescue.

Anyone interested in this kind of nonsense in Jpn, I highly recommend

Ian Buruma's

the Wages of Guilt

compares and contrasts Germany post wwii trying to confront some difficult realities and make some tough changes to get past things, not always successfully, to the Japan post wwii approach which can be summed up as the ostrich method of stickingyour head in the sand a nd hoping all the bad thingswill go away, and the increasingly infantile-ization of pop culture.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

On Thursday the government admitted that some radiation measurements were inaccurate.... THERE YOU GO... why the hell did you make excuses that everything is fine and under control. So at last you admitted... JUST LIKE THAT huh! and ask children to smile with that yellow bird mascot to avoid getting sick from radiation...har..har..har.. UNBELIEVABLE Japan approach. As if smiling can help not getting sick. BANZAI Aho...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So kids stay away from radiation that your government and Tepco are still allowing into the environment -keep smiling like Kibicha and you'll be fine (maybe)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

zichi Nov. 11, 2012 - 01:12PM JST

Over 100,000 Fukushima children have had their tyroids tested but many parents have complained that the hospitals won't give them the data, scans etc.

Perhaps the hospitals are aware that not only do people need professional expertise to read thyroid scans, but that they do not have the time or money to organise distribution of the scans - and definitely no time for handling the thousands of queries that would come in.

Instead of Cartoon Bird it should be Angry Bird.

No, I think Paranoid Bird would be best.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Most of you out there make me sick with all the bitching. What else can they do. Yeah go out there and hit the kids hard, tell them the truth and scare them to death after all they have been through I'm sure that would be a great idea. Just add to the suicide rate. The character has been around for years it is the Fukushima Ken character. If some of you could come up with better ideas of how to educate the children without scaring them any more than they already are, please do. So we all know TEPCO and the J gov are sitting on their hands and when the Ken tries to something positive shoot them down?? I guess this is what J Today was lookingfor anyway.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Look at the bright side, at least they didn't hire AKB48.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@colby222, truth is good, people would move away which is good for the kids, might teach critical/crisis thinking skills to a lot of people who are sorely lacking or for the younger generation who will need it in the future.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Absolutely appalling. Wasting tax payers money on futile attempts to keep the children safe by gargling water and washing their hands.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I suppose a little skeleton bird would not have been so Kawaii.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good Lord! You can't make this stuff up!

If you ever needed material evidence that Japan was sunk, this is it. A cutesy character to tell kids: stay away from puddles, grass, drains, downspouts, tree roots etc. For God's sake, if you can't go near any of those things, what on earth are people doing living in the area?!

They don't need a cutesy character, they need some sort of skull and crossbones symbol that says: Run! Run for your lives and don't look back! They could place it all around the borders of Tohoku.

If Japan really wanted to help people, they could create some sort of blood-curdling character that would warn people of the dangers of the corrupt ministers and their corporate henchmen who run Japan. They could put it outside the major ministries in Tokyo and in front of the head office of TEPCO. Let's name it: Kanryo-kun. He could be oily, fat, drunk, smoking and with his hand on the backside of a hapless hostess. And his pockets would be overflowing with Y10,000 notes.

But, I'm not holding my breath. Remember, Kibitan was brought to you by the same people who brought you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgHQfxT7ImI.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

There is a very negative response from the native English speakers here (presumably native) about telling kids about serious things in such a funny (read: childish) way, but I suppose this "cuteness overload" is an ultimate strategy for everything to be popular in Japan (for example anime character advertising the new Windows system)... Also the manga / anime business considered as childish in the west is quite a serious thing in Japan (although this is what I know from the outside sources, not from personal experience).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I guess it's just not an easy decision for the parents (those who've chosen to stay) - new jobs, new home, new school... the non-immediate effect of the radiation delays ppl's alertness... how sad...

it's ridiculous to tell your kid to stay away from puddles when it rains. yeah mom, u show me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This reminds mebof the "how to make poo" cartoon

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Has any study been done on gargling with water helping against radiation? It seems that one of the biggest blanket solutions to health issues in this country is gargling with plain water. I just can't see the effect that it would have on anything, let alone radiation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am waiting for the next smart phone that has a geiger counter included! And a Kibatan App!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JT posters:

at least it's giving them "hope". not negativities like you lot prolly sitting comfortably behind your big screen!

gambare kibitan!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Hey kids, there was a bad shaky thing and now the big energy factory shoots out little tiny energy demons you can't see. If you get these little demons, the red juice in your body will be unhappy."

Yeah, it's called "leukemia".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

megosaa: "at least it's giving them "hope"."

Yup. "You're living in a radioactive area. You and your children have a high chance of dying early, and horribly, as a result. But hey, here's a cute cartoon character to make you feel better while we stay the hell out of the area!"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Isn't the answer to the problem simple?

Evacuate all the children out of contaminated areas with their parents now.

If not how will Japanese adults explain to children why they are dying before their parents?

These deaths are preventable.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't you think those that could, have moved. I have family there and talking to them they would love to be somewhere else, but where and what do they do with their land that they have had for 5 generations? How do you face your neighbours who don't haave the finances to go. Do you all have that much money saved that you could pick up and go?? Don't forget no one wants your property. Many people who have moved get nothing but more problems and stress. It isn't as easy as you all think it is. I have moved out with my wife and 5 kids and it ain't easy starting all over again. at least where I am, not in Japan, the kids don't get picked on. You know the another big worry for parents in Fukushima now, there kids wont be able to get married to anyone outside of Fukushima. There are sooo many things going on....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm trying to think of some synonyms for pathetic and idiotic so I don't just repeat what others have said.

Maybe I'll just go with useless, ineffective and "too little too late."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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