Are anime girls on aircraft and recruitment posters enough to moe-tivate you to join the Japanese Self Defence Forces?

Every country undoubtedly has its own ways of trying to convince the young and able-bodied to serve in the nation’s military (or self defense force, if you are Japanese). It is highly doubtful, though, that any other nation has approached this in quite the same way Japan has.

Enter the moe.

What is moe, you ask?  Well, to be honest, many scholars are still in debate in terms of how to precisely define this phenomenon; generally, though, it is accepted that moe is the embodiment of a certain kind of cuteness or adorable-ness of an anime or manga character that imbues one with a strong affection for the character with these qualities.


If you looked at the above picture and thought “Squee!  So kawaii!  I just want to hug her!” that’s a kind of moe-feeling. And it’s the strength of those kinds of emotions that the JSDF might be cleverly playing to in its most recent recruitment efforts.

Debuting on various aircraft in 2012 at the Kisarazu City Avaition festival, the anime-style artwork has been considered by some to be akin to the pin-up girl airplane nose art of the World War era rather than a recruitment campaign.

This isn’t the only weapon in Japan’s arsenal to attract new enlistees, though. Perhaps a poster will be that which inspires someone to answer the JSDF’s call.

While some have commented that the use of kawaii anime girls and moe elements seems to imply that one wouldn’t be able to put much trust into an army run by a bunch of otaku, others believe that the juxtaposition of these elements with the military and all things associated, such as weaponry, is indicative of a particular Japanese ambivalence in regards to the ever-changing role of the JSDF and Japan’s military history. As Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to push for a revision of the Japanese constitution to allow the JSDF to behave more like a conventional army, this viewpoint seems to become even more relevant. Taken in that context, this unique, and frankly somewhat appealing, recruitment effort may be a little more serious than the cute posters suggest at first glance.

Adding to that is a 20-minute anime video put out by Japan’s Ministry of Defense titled “Bo-Emon’s Defense Lecture – ABC of Self-Defense Forces”. In the video, a mysterious blue bird-thing comes to life out of a child’s drawing to explain to him and his siblings what the JSDF’s role is in Japan.

▼A trailer for the longer video

Do you think that kawaii motifs on helicopters, anime posters, and videos would have any success in engaging people in other countries with their military or defense forces? Would these kinds of things inspire or motivate you to enlist?  Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Source: Kotaku
Images: Youtube/RUNWAY FUNWikipedia/Snow64