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


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

  1. Orwell says:

    Revisionists and market fundamentalists destroyed the stable Japan U.S. relations. Japan cannot be a satellite and equal partnership should be pursued. It is wrong for the Americans to manipulate the cronies those who sought the fool’s gold in Tokyo by the illegal or at least indecent behaviors. The days of exploitation and conspiracies are being over.


  2. ImadK says:

    Since i think that most of the commentators aren’t into manga culture, i guess I’ll put in my two cents.
    This is certainly strange, it’s kind of like, if not blatantly, propaganda. I don’t know if this will help reinforce the positivity of US-Japanese military relations to the Japanese public, if that is indeed their target audience.
    Well, it’s not the most bizzarre manga that i’ve come upon. There’s one which is explicitly anti-Korean. And I mean really explicit!


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