The Japan Self-Defence Forces are the unified military forces of Japan, established after the Second World War. Recruits are tasked with maintaining the security of the nation and, occasionally, with international peacekeeping for the UN.

Recently, however, this recruitment poster for the JSDF in Iwate Prefecture has been raising netizens’ eyebrows online for, well, a number of reasons, but they might not be what you were expecting…

First, let’s break down what the poster is trying to convey. The title in red is: “Japan Self-Defence Forces Recruiting” and the subtitle reads: “Now is the time to choose the future”. Also featured is a helicopter, tank, and a soldier in army fatigues wielding a…samurai sword? And that text at the bottom reads “G.I Samurai x Iwate Provincial Cooperation Office.” Huh?

It turns out that G.I Samurai, aka Sengoku Jiteitai, was a novel and film (starring Sonny Chiba!) about a Japan Self-Defence Forces team circa 1979 that accidentally travels back in time to the Warring States period of Japanese history (1467-1603). Oh, well that explains everything! Here’s a trailer for the original movie:

And here’s what Japan’s netizens had to say about the poster campaign:

“I didn’t know they provided samurai swords in the JSDF!”

“If you didn’t already know about the book/movie, this would look really bad. I feel like this poster doesn’t give off a very good impression…”

“So, if we join, do we get sent back in time, too?”

“I’m actually joining up this year. I got this, people.”

“That helicopter in the background looks like it has a FACE! Save meee!”

“This is how invading other countries starts…”

“I bet foreigners will look at this and think, OH! JAPNESE (sic) MODERN SAMURAI!! SO COOL!!!”

“So they mention ‘the future’ and also the warring states period… Oh, okay…”

“This looks like it’s aimed at children.”

“Ugh, this is typical of Iwate, I apologise on behalf of my home prefecture…”

“Yeah, I definitely still don’t feel like joining up…”

At the risk of sounding like a history teacher, how does the above poster make you feel? What do you think it says about today’s Japan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Source: Hamusoku
Main Image: Twitter @Bris_S_Zakharov