US Military Uses Manga to Reach out to Japanese Public

The US and Japan are about to mark the 50th anniversary of their defense pact. In order to strengthen an endangered relationship, the US military is publishing a multi-issue manga designed to promote good relations between the two nations:

The story features an American boy called Usa-kun -- a word play on USA and "usagi", Japanese for rabbit -- who wears a hooded jacket with bunny ears and befriends a Japanese girl, Anzu Arai.

In the first issue of "Our Alliance -- A Lasting Partnership", to be published online Wednesday, the boy tells Anzu that he has come to defend her home because they are "important friends".[...]

In the four-part comic series, the two main characters "explore and learn about the US military in Japan and its role in the US-Japan alliance," according to a statement from the US forces.

The US military chose the manga format because it is "a very common way of communicating in Japan," Major Neal Fisher, deputy director of the US forces' public affairs office in Japan, told AFP by telephone. via Digg | Image: AP

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I wonder if Usa-kun robs or rapes anyone? "Hey Anzu, I raped your sister and stabbed your dad so I could rob his store, but really I'm here to defend you. Now thank me."

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Having the Japanese person be female and the American be male is awkward. One thing that scholars have always pointed to as a historical issue for Japan is the "feminizing" of the country- particularly when the US moved in. I don't know about the average Japanese citizen, but as someone who studied Japan extensively I think it is, well, icky.
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