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Japan projects “cute power” abroad
Peter Feaver says the United States is losing to Europe in the soft power battle. But when it comes to commitment to cute power, nobody tops the Japanese. After last years appointment of a giant blue robot cat as “anime ambassador,” Japan is expanding its corps of adorable envoys: In a bid to raise its ...
Peter Feaver says the United States is losing to Europe in the soft power battle. But when it comes to commitment to cute power, nobody tops the Japanese.
In a bid to raise its international profile, Tokyo has appointed three young women as cultural envoys because they represent Japan’s long-running craze for all things cute.
Inspired by the characters in Japan’s distinctive “anime” animated films and “manga” cartoon books, one of the new ambassadors dresses as a schoolgirl, another as a Victorian doll in voluminous frilly skirts.
The third of the women, presented at a news conference on Thursday, was a singer dressed in a polka dot shirt with a bunny print, offset by bouffant back-combed hair, a look that has made her a fashion leader in Tokyo teens’ favorite haunt, Harajuku.
Japan wants to exploit the popularity of the “kawaii” (cute) culture, which has influenced young people in Asia and Europe.