If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, for the longest time you may have heard about a building specifically to promote Japanese pop culture in San Francisco’s Japantown. After nearly three years, New People, the new J-Pop and anime center that Viz Media invest their hard earned manga sales, will be open today at noon. To celebrate the grand opening, Viz in conjunction with the Japantown Merchants Association and the Center for Asian American Media, held a free screening of Kamikaze Girls, outdoors at the Japantown Peace Plaza. I was there to take a few pictures of the screening and Japantown in general. We’ll have more photos of the grand opening of New People later today, so stay tuned!
According to the Japan Times, Japan’s Foreign Ministry has appointed three female “ambassadors of cute” to promote Japanese pop culture to the world (and I’m not talking about Haruhi, Mikuru and Yuki; although one can dream!) Shizuka Fujioka, one of the cute liaisons visited Thailand this past March, to talk about Japanese school girl uniforms. One young Thai dude commented how pretty the ambassador looked in a uniform and he wants to visit Japan. (Editor’s note: sounds kinda creepy to me!)
Though it seems to be an innocent way to promote Japan, some politicians doesn’t feel the same way. New Komeito politician and Diet member, Kaori Maruya warned the Foreign Ministry to be careful not to draw “unwarranted criticism” from other countries of their ambassadors in skimpy skirts.
You have to give the Japanese government some credit for trying to keep Japan in the limelight, appointing cute girls isn’t going to help Japan’s image in the long run. Especially now that other countries think of Japan as some kind of pervert haven. Instead, Japan should promote its culinary robots and gunpla prowess to the world!