If you can’t get them with higher wages or better work benefits, then it’s time to anime it up!

When it comes to recruiting younger generations, different sectors of the Japanese government tend to lean into a variety of PR methods and tactics in order to reel in fresh faces. From social media campaigns to moe marketing, the gamut runs long, and several agencies such as Japan’s Self-Defense Forces don’t shy away from using even anime mascots. It seems Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat, the government’s leading agency which coordinates the other ministries, is also adopting a similar strategy, especially as it has mysteriously announced a new anime project about working as a Japanese civil servant.

▼ Like Hetalia but make it bureaucratic!

Titled “Us Civil Servants,” the website of the project first alludes to a potential series featuring Japanese government ministries and agencies personified as anime characters. The characters shown so far represent just seven out of the over 30 ministries and agencies, and some are based off sectors with a significant amount of reach, such as the Cabinet Secretariat itself, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Defense.

Other characters represent agencies which are familiar to the average Japanese citizen, but may not cover as many institutions as the ministries, such as the National Police Agency and the National Tax Agency. Given the characters’ distinctive designs, one can’t help but wonder how much fan content may be created in the days to come.

▼ Nothing screams sexy like “Mr. National Tax Agency,” am I right?

There are also agencies included which may not ring a bell for some folks upon first glance, but no doubt are steeped in creating important economic policy-making such as the Japan Fair Trade Commission and the Consumer Affairs Agency, both represented by swanky, young men. As a bonus, each and every one of these characters have their own name, background story, and even a link to the official website of their respective ministries and agencies.

Though in Japan there is a plethora of anime on a wide range of subjects, from innovative cat robots to raging red panda office ladies, civil servants in general are held to a more skeptical, scrutinizing public eye, and opinions fluctuated sharply between the positive and negative when it came to this new, upcoming project. Mixed emotions were no doubt reflected in how netizens responded:

“Would show to my kids if this was an actual thing.” 
“Why do so many people think as long as there’s anime involved younger folks will eat it up?”
“I have never seen civil servants this well-dressed in my local area.”
“Why do I feel like this advert was made by old people who conflate manga with anime.”
“I actually would be down to watch an anime about civil servants combating health insurance fraud or something.”

However, there’s just one catch to this project: it doesn’t actually exist at all. Scrolling down to the webpage’s bottom reveals a tidy paragraph clarifying the project’s true intentions, which is to urge visitors in imagining their own “civil servant character.” And of course, at the very end, there’s a button to an official career guide as to how one can become a civil servant in Japan, if inspired by the Cabinet Secretariat’s PR stunt.

▼ Who knows though—maybe one day we will see these characters come alive in a manga or anime series.

Regardless of the anime-fication, and to an extent, romanticization of civil servant life, working as a civil servant in Japan comes with its ups and downs for sure. But if the Japanese government is pulling for more workers, maybe, just maybe, if better work hours were instated and the labor rights of employees more respected, perhaps they will see that much desired bump in applicant numbers.

Source, images: Kochira Kokkakoumuin via Hachima Kiko
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