Sunday, April 25, 2010
Shock and Awe Japanese Style - The Character Mascots of the Armed Forces
I have previously skimmed the surface of the Japanese tendency to apply cute character mascots, with varying degrees of success, to organizations and events. I previously did a ranking of the worst three characters in Japan (here) and also looked into the character mascots in use by the Japanese police department and the host of image characters in use there (here).
Obviously, the Japanese armed forces felt that they should not to be one-upped by such measly institutions such as the Okinawa PD, historical capital Nara and also have adopted a few mascots of their own. I am pleased to introduce you to the image characters used by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces; the adorable "Pickles" and "Parsley"! I feel that they fully serve their purpose in making the military a bit more warmer and welcoming. They might look a big cute and cuddly, but mess with them and as representative of one of the top ten countries in the world in terms of military expenditure, they can bomb your ass back to the stone age. The Japanese Ministry of War (or whatever they call themselves these days) must be very pleased with themselves indeed!
Then we also have "Adsuma-kun", the image character of the army branch of the military. He might not be as cute and cuddly but compensates for it by carrying a rifle about three times the size of a conventional assault rifle; you don't want to mess with him. I have also received a highly secret picture that I have been told was part of the picture set taken in the Abu Ghraib Baghdad central prison but which was withheld to the media due to the sensitivity surrounding the dispatching of Japanese forces overseas...
But that's not enough, we also have the happy little lad "Mamoru-kun" in the local Osaka branch of the military. He might look like a happy little camper, but rest assured that he can take you on; in the air, on the ground or on the sea.
Now I just need to find the image characters for the different Yakuza families, motorcycle gangs, murderous cults and such, I'm sure that you're not really a real organization unless you have your own character!