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[Video] How Japan Is Using Anime To Justify An Expanded Military Role

Japan is in the midst of expanding its military’s operating limits to a point unseen since the end of World War II. To help “justify” what many see as an illegal pivot when it comes to the use of military force, Japanese has launched an anime-based campaign to win over the population’s hearts and minds.

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Following World War II, the victorious Americans more or less wrote Japan’s constitution. While many of its articles resemble those in the American constitution, Article 9 prohibits the establishment of a military. As such, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) was born in 1954 with a directive to grant Japan the right of self-defense at home.

However, Since last July, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party has sought to reinterpret the Article 9 to “permit its forces to aid allies who are under attack in situations that threaten Japan's welfare,” which “Opposition critics assailed the gambit as circumventing democracy,” writes Vice.

Given the seriousness of the issue, what better way to justify using greater military force as a response to perceived threats from North Korea and China than with a 20-minute anime video made by the Ministry of Defense?

“The cartoon stars a talking bird named Bo-Emon who explains the purpose of the JSDF to three young children whose father flies an F-15 fighter jet for the Air Self-Defense Force. The bird explains that the JSDF is meant to deter aggression and provide for global stability, rather than invade other nations. The cartoon ends with a scene of the father scrambling in his F-15 to intercept two unmarked aircraft that bear an unmistakable resemblance to the Su-35, an advanced Russian-made interceptor that China is keen to purchase,” writes the website.

The JSDF is also embracing moe, an anime style that typically features female characters. A few years ago, the Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad painted three of its attack helicopters with the images of moe style girls. Though the paintings were removed in 2013, the style has been used for mascots and recruitment posters. After the Okayama Provincial Recruitment Center reported a 20% increase in volunteers in 2013 after debuting their mascots, other regional headquarters around the country have followed suit.

Only in Japan…