Patriotic Moe


“Where is my home?” laments this rather appealing maiden. She is (literally) the new poster child for an initiative to “foster territorial awareness” by the Junior Chamber International Japan, the Japanese arm of international (and moderately conservative) civic group JCI. This group has no connection to the Japanese government.

“Let’s protect our home together” rallies the poster, urging participation in petitions for policies promoting the favourable (to Japan) resolution of territorial disputes, and supportive of national defence.

As you can see from the map upon which the maiden is superimposed, several territorial issues are alluded to:

Takeshima (Dokdo): A rock in the Sea of Japan which Korea insists is its integral heartland. Just who has the better claim to it is a matter of considerable dispute, though Korea refuses to submit the issue to international arbitration as Japan has apparently offered.

Tsushima: Lying midway between Japan and Korea, this larger island has a population of 40,000 Japanese and has been part of Japan for at least 1500 years. Lately Korean nationalist groups have started agitating for it to be “returned” to Korea, although the Korean government only made a demand for it once at the beginning of the post-war period. This is roughly equivalent to France demanding the UK “return” the Isle of Wight…

The Kuril Islands: This chain of islands was grabbed by Stalin at the end of WWII as a consolation prize for not getting Hokkaido. Russia insists it theirs by right of conquest. Legally, the islands probably belong to Japan.

The Senkaku Islands: These uninhabited islands are part of the Ryukyu archipelago (Okinawa); oil reserves were discovered on the seabed by the islands in 1968 by Japanese geologists. In 1970 both China and Taiwan decided to claim them for some reason. Previously, they were an undisputed part of Japan.

A fair and objective assessment of the use of these issues would probably conclude that this represents a quite moderate and reasonable stance, although the international media tends to prefer to brand this sort of thing “resurgent militarism”.

Certainly, these claims can absolutely not be equated with the kind of claims and revisionism exercised by fringe nationalist groups in Japan or elsewhere.

A preview of their promotional video:

You can see the campaign outline here.

With recent efforts to reach out to young people frequently drawing upon moe anime style illustrations, this marketing trend appears to be gaining strength…

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