It would seem that marketing in Japan is a far cry from the complicated psychological manipulation employed by the ad geniuses of Mad Men. Things, it would seem, are a lot simpler than that for advertising and promotions executives at Japanese firms, ever since someone came upon the brilliant idea of using cutesy anime girls to promote damn near everything.

The huge, innocent eyes and adolescent proportions of the common anime girl apparently trigger something deep in the dark recesses of the brain that makes people lose all rational control, buying up “moe”-promoted goods by the truckload and even making potentially life-endangering decisions like joining the Japan Self Defense Forces.

Okayama Prefecture’s JSDF branch was the first, apparently, to try this strategy, introducing three cute anime girl characters on posters, recruitment flyers and calendars. The campaign apparently defied all expectations, leading to “skyrocketing” new enrolments and calendars flying off store shelves.

Now, Ibaraki Prefecture – hot on the heels of a special promotional app that invites ordinary citizens to imagine themselves as a soldier, sailor, or pilot – is jumping on the bandwagon, introducing their own military girl characters: Koume, of the land forces, Nobara of the maritime forces and Hibari of the air defense forces.


Believe it or not, though, someone at the national JSDF headquarters has apparently been passing around the moe memo for a long time now (we picture him as a gruff, grizzled Captain with a suitcase full of cute anime girl photos) – Ibaraki is just the latest branch to throw their moe hat into the ring, with Kagawa, Tokushima, and Mie Prefectures having already rolled out their own cutesy mascots.

Some Japanese Netizens have argued that the use of anime characters to promote enrollment in the JSDF does a disservice to the defense force, depicting it as some kind of childish summer camp, while others reason that, since the JSDF’s main role in peacetime Japan is to go on peace keeping missions, undergo search and rescue efforts, engage in disaster relief and the like, the “warm and friendly” anime characters make sense.

Here’s a selection of the ads below. Makes you want to jump out of your seat and run to the nearest recruitment office, right?

▼ Here’s Tokushima Prefecture’s surprisingly stylish work


moe6 moe5 moe4

▼ Okayama:

moe8 moe9

▼ Mie:


▼ And, finally, Kagawa:


What do you say, guys? Are you feeling inspired to enlist all of a sudden?

Source: Itai News