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In our modern world, with the sometimes questionable motives of our political leaders and the abundance of often conflicting information available online, it’s perhaps not surprising that countries’ armed forces have a hard time finding new recruits.

While the United States Army opted to take a rather gung-ho approach to recruitment by releasing a free-to-play tactical first-person shooter video game in the form of America’s Army, Japan – who, following its defeat in World War II, is permitted only to have “Self-Defense Forces” that remain on Japanese territory – has its own methods of rallying support and enticing potential new recruits. Its latest recruitment drive, for example, is so fantastically quirky that is positively screams “Japan”.

Say hello to the JSDF “cheerleading shout” app that allows future soldiers, sailors and pilots to take selfies and insert them into Mii-like avatars that dance around when special augment reality (AR) cards are scanned.

The app, which is freely available for iOS and Android devices, is called “Kimi ni Eeru AR“, which roughly translates as “Your AR Cheerleading Shout”, with AR pointing to the fact that by using your device’s camera it’s possible to superimpose on-screen images onto live footage of your current surroundings, a process known as augmented reality.

After downloading the application, users can create their “future you” and put themselves in one of the three components of the Japan Self-Defense Forces – namely army, navy or air force – by creating a cutesy avatar akin to those made famous by Nintendo’s Wii home games console.

According to the promotional video, the process is simple:

▼ We start off by selecting either male or female

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▼ Then choosing the branch of the JSDF you’d like to imagine yourself in

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▼ There are a number of uniforms and styles – all equally goofy – to choose from

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▼ Next, it’s time to take a selfie. Sorry, no filters for this one…

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 ▼ With your image captured, the app inserts it into the face of your chosen JSDF avatar, which isn’t at all creepy…

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▼ … or hobbit-like.

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Next, it’s on to the all-important cheering yell. This may seem completely alien to many of our Western readers, but these “eeru” are a common part of club and team life in Japan, with everyone from newly recruited teachers to members of baseball teams being required to either perform or receive one of those supporting cheers at some point.

▼ If you’ve ever played crazy/awesome Nintendo DS rhythm game Osu! Tatakai! Ouendan! you already know exactly what these “cheers” look like.

You can send messages via all the popular social networking services using your newly created JSDF avatar, but if you really want to impress, you’ll need to locate some AR cards, which are available as icons on the JSDF website.

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Simply print them out and, as the video suggests, keep them with you to start your “future self” marching, dancing or waving their arms about showing their cheering spirit. To use the AR icons, just fire up the function in the app and, with the card placed on a flat surface, point your camera at it. The app will take care of the rest.

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▼ With the icon read, your avatar starts doing its thing

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There are apparently 88 kinds of cheer available, depending on your avatar and their role in the JSDF. Which… seems like an awful lot, but if you’re going to cheer you might as well make it worthwhile, eh?

Here’s the official promo video for the app. Watch and enjoy!

Source: Japan Self Defense Forces via
mages: YouTube