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Japan appoints anime ambassador

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few years about the United States’ pitiful efforts at public diplomacy. Maybe the State Department just isn’t being creative enough: Japan has created an unusual government post to promote animation, and named a perfect figure Wednesday to the position: a popular cartoon robot ...

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KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few years about the United States’ pitiful efforts at public diplomacy. Maybe the State Department just isn’t being creative enough:

Japan has created an unusual government post to promote animation, and named a perfect figure Wednesday to the position: a popular cartoon robot cat named Doraemon.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura appointed the cat an “anime ambassador,” handing a human-sized Doraemon doll an official certificate at an inauguration ceremony, along with dozens of “dorayaki” red bean pancakes — his favorite dessert — piled on a huge plate.

Komura told the doll, with an unidentified person inside, that he hoped he would widely promote Japanese animated cartoons, or “anime.”

“Doraemon, I hope you will travel around the world as an anime ambassador to deepen people’s understanding of Japan so they will become friends with Japan,” Komura told the blue-and-white cat.

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