This article is reproduced from the discontinued, but much loved Mainichi Waiwai column by Ryann Connell. Read more about this at the bottom of this article.
From the successor of the government ministry that gave the world Pearl Harbor and the Rape of Nanking now comes a cutesy little girl cartoon character dressed as a maid with a hawkish stuffed teddy bear to give a simple explanation of Japan’s defense policies, according to Cyzo (August).
Growing numbers of government agencies have used borderline pedophile manga characters to promote their activities in recent years, but it’s the Defense Ministry’s little girl character that is attracting attention among Japan’s otaku, the monthly says.
The Japanese translation of the opening, thanks to the 2ch whingers: サイゾー(８月号)によると、世界に対して真珠湾攻撃とレイプ・オブ・ナンキンを行った後継者の政府が、タカ派的なテディベアのぬいぐるみを持ったメイド服を着るかわいこぶった少女漫画キャラクターを使って、日本の防衛政策の簡単な説明をさせるという。近年、多くの政府機関が、彼らの活動を広報するために、ペドフィル（小児性愛）ギリギリのマンガキャラクタを使っている。しかし、日本のオタクの間で注目を集めているのは、防衛省の少女キャラクターであると月刊誌は言う。
In the “Manga de Yomu Boeisho Hakusho (Defense Ministry White Papers in Manga)” series printed in 2005, a little girl wearing “Lolita” fashions and an apron is involved in exchanges — sometimes violently — with a hawkish stuffed teddy bear as they rumble over the way Japan should defend itself.
News of the story spread through Japan’s Internet and by word of mouth and turned the manga into a hit, with second and third editions hitting the bookstores rapidly. It seemed a given that the publisher, Japan Defense Foundation for Mutual Aid, would be given the contract to print last year’s manga version of the ministry’s white papers, but things didn’t quite turn out that way.
“Publishing rights are decided in public bidding and another company undercut us,” a spokesman from the Japan Defense Foundation for Mutual Aid tells Cyzo. “But it was such a popular book that we didn’t want its success to end after only a single year. We asked the same author of the 2005 edition to draw up another manga using the same characters in a way that would help readers to understand what’s going on with the defense of Japan.”
The new book “Heiwa no Kuni no Nebaarando (The Neverland of the Peaceful Country)” has also proved to be as popular as its predecessor, with sales going well since its January release.
Japan Defense Foundation for Mutual Aid is confident its cutesy manga characters can drum up plenty of support for an industry that revolves around defending people.
“It’s pretty serious contents,” a group spokesman tells Cyzo. “But we figure the manga characters are easy to relate to and will make the difficult issues more accessible for kids and young adults to understand.”
(The Mainichi Waiwai column ran online from April 19, 2001 – June 21, 2008. It was a much loved form of entertainment amongst foreigner in and outside of Japan. To any reader it was obviously not serious news, but it was a set of articles that portrayed quite well how the Japanese tabloids actually write about their own country. In 2008, a small number of Japanese people bought it to the attention of rival news groups that Mainichi was running an anti-Japan column on its website. With the bad publicity, Mainichi was forced to shut the page down, and take punitive measures against the journalists that were working on it, claiming that it was receiving opinions that were critical of the column, such as “its contents are too vulgar” and “the stories could cause Japanese people to be misunderstood abroad”. A perfect example of how Japanese consider what they write in their own script to be an acceptable secret code, that the rest of the world cant understand. When that same tabloid rubbish gets inconveniently translated to English to make light of some aspects of the Japanese people, it gets canned. Stippy.com finds this unacceptable, and will reproduce as much of the Waiwai content as possible in order to bring it once again to our computer screens for a good laugh. Of course we claim no credit for this content, and attribute it to it’s writers who were former Mainichi employees. Waiwai in its true and glorious form has been discontinued, but it’s legacy will live on at stippy.com for all to enjoy.)