Mutual Assured Cuteness in US-Japan Relations (or the Pentagon has REALLY Gotten Too Big)


America and Japan: the cutest military alliance in the whole world.
Occasional blogger Gen Kanai sent me this fascinating note referencing a CNNGo post by Matt Alt about manga cartoon love and the US-Japan security relationship.
From Gen Kanai:

This is pretty amazing.

For years, foreigners have tittered over the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ cuddly mascot character, Prince Pickles.
But now the United States military has upped the ante by producing an entire manga-style comic book celebrating the strategic relationship between the two nations.
Could this be the beginning of a new era of “mutually assured cuteness?”
Entitled Our Alliance; A Lasting Partnership and available for free download from the U.S. Forces Japan website, it casts the politically charged relationship as a metaphor in which a cuter-than-cute little boy named Usa (get it?) visits the home of his equally cuter-than-cute Japanese friend Arai Anzu (say it aloud: “alliance.”)

You can see the manga here.
It’s unfortunately only in Japanese but the visuals express a lot.

The zinger in CNNGo’s Matt Alt‘s great snip is:

“Our Alliance” skirts any discussion of protests or criticism, casting the relationship in an almost blindingly positive light. Helpful little Usa scoots around Arai’s home stomping on cockroaches and extolling the “efficiency” of Japan’s work alongside the more powerful United States.
The only question is, if this is all a metaphor, who or what precisely do those cockroaches represent? Perhaps that will be answered in the follow-up issues, which are due to come out over the course of 2010.

— Steve Clemons


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