Head of state also picks up an amazing One Piece souvenir that any fan would treasure.

When French president Emmanuel Macron arrived in Japan last week, there were two highly publicized reasons for the visit. One was to attend the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, and the other was for summit meetings with Japanese prime minster Yoshihide Suga.

However, part of Macron’s itinerary in Japan has dropped the jaws of people even with no particular interest in sports or politics, as France’s head of state also met with some of the biggest names in otaku culture.

At the opening of the video shared through Macron’s official Twitter account, he can be seen, with the help of an interpreter, speaking to a Japanese man in a dark suit. While not every fan may recognize the face, that’s Hiro Mashima, manga artist and creator of the Fairy Tail anime/manga franchise.

Macron hasn’t summoned Mashima just to fanboy over him, though. As they speak, he expresses his sincere appreciation for Mashima’s work, which he says is immensely popular in France, and Mashima humbly adds that he himself greatly admires French culture.

Moving to his left, Mashima next introduces himself to a second Japanese man. This is Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of such enjoyably punishing video games as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro.

▼ For anyone who’s played Miyazaki’s notoriously merciless games, it’s almost surreal to see people standing in his presence but not suddenly die a brutal death.

After they speak, Macron next turns to an older, more casually dressed gentleman. This is none other than Katsuhiro Otomo, manga artist and creator of Akira.

▼ Macron congratulates Otomo on his foresight in predicting that Tokyo would host the 2020 Olympics all the way back in Akira’s storyline in the early 1980s.

Finally, the fourth visitor that Macron greets is filmmaker Naomi Kawase, best known for her 2017 movie Hikari, released in English as Radiance.

Later in the visit, Otomo brings out a stack of papers, which turn out to be raw original artwork from Akira, and Macron inspects the historical manga artifacts.

▼ While in Japan, Macron was also gifted this incredible piece of One Piece artwork by the series’ famously camera-shy creator Eiichiro Oda.

Along with the video, Macron tweeted the following message in Japanese:

“I was very happy to be able to spend this time meeting with everyone. Your many works, starting with Akira, Fairy Tail, Dark Souls, and Hikari, have become legends not only in Japan, but in France as well. Culture connects people, and deepens friendship.”

At 43 years old, Macron is remarkably young for a world leader, and with France being an early adopter among foreign country of Japanese animation and, in particular, comics, for most of his life anime and manga have been as recognizable as symbols of Japan as kabuki or kimono. While they may be first and foremost, entertainment media, the passion and positive feelings they stir in fans have done much to contribute to empathy and goodwill among ordinary people of the two nations, and no doubt will continue to do so, even if otaku around the world are probably burning with jealousy watching the video.

Source: Twitter/@EmmanuelMacron via Hachima Kiko
Images: Twitter/@EmmanuelMacron
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