USA commissions manga

It is, if anything, the reverse of “Cool Japan.” Rather than spread Japanese culture and influence to the world, a new manga titled Our Alliance – A Lasting Partnership has been published by the US Military in a bid to win the hearts of local Japanese citizens.

The manga presents America as a blond, rabbit-eared boy named Usa-kun, who enthusiastically explains the facts of geopolitical necessity to a Japanese girl named Arai Anzu – which sounds like a Wasai-Eigo pronunciation of “alliance.” (In Japanese, the prefix “Usa-” (兎) indicates things which are rabbitlike; thus Usa-kun has “usamimi,” 兎耳 or rabbit ears.)

“I am on your side,” Usa-kun tells Arai. “We are important friends.”


Public opinion in Japan has been overwhelmingly against the continued presence of US military bases, in part due to several sensational rape cases tied to off-duty Marines. The latest case, occurring just days ago on August 4, followed former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s June resignation. Mr. Hatoyama was forced out of his position after his failure to keep a campaign promise to relocate a base off the island caused his popularity to plummet. Presently, the US still has an estimated 47,000 troops stationed in Japan.

Calling it “a very common way of communicating in Japan,” US Major Neil Fischer stated to AFP reporters that he sees nothing strange about the project.

The first chapter of the manga can be read online at http://www.usfj.mil/manga/ .

14 thoughts on “USA commissions manga”

  1. Very common way, huh? Maybe it shouldn’t have been “moe”-ish. Non-moe manga is a more common way of communicating. Don’t they know the majority of Japan don’t like moe?

    I don’t know if the release of the manga was really coincidental in regards to the political incidents happening in Japan right now. Here’s hoping the U.S. doesn’t add fuel to the fire by distorting any facts!

  2. I’m rather angry that ippanjin is trying our stuff to harm the Japanese minds. Here’s hoping this doesn’t reach any Japanese at all.

  3. I just read the sample introduction. I thought blond usagi boy was Joey from Heroman. Not a little Barack currently filming in Indonesia. And USA as a boy and Japan as a meganekko girl. Megane is very Japanese stereotype. This also spreads a perception that boys are always the one leads girls, as if girls are sheep, girls are in a weak position and need protection of macho man, very crappy machismo jamming down our throat.

    Probably Manga will be explaining about North Korea and China’s nuke threat in the region in the later chapters. Well, it went why Japan has military alliance with USA though the Japanese constitution bans military. Manga explains every nation has a right to defend themselves. But really if USA says it’s okay to have military, it means okay. And who wrote the Japanese constitution? USA! So, USA basically is telling Japan not to have military and okay to have military. It’s a double bind. So the victim can’t think for herself, but always seek her superior for advice. Salaryman mentality, always be told what to do.

    The manga is propaganda purely. It is just serving to justify US military presence in Japan. It’s regretful that Obama as commander-in-chief is approving this PR tactics. Is that the change to the world he has been talking about? Wonder Woman or Captain Tessa could have been better.

  4. @Ray, @LaMoe – I would love to see Japan portrayed as Captain Tessa.

    I really didn’t get into reviewing it – we should probably do a panel review of this. Casting Arai Anzu as the core identity of the Japanese girl is very telling in terms of authorial intent.

    @Manga Therapy – I really do not think they are aware of these things. If they were, they’d probably be aware of the convention of doujinshi, and in light of recent events, it would be quite easy to make a political doujin satirizing the official US manga.

  5. Yeah, it’s interesting topic to discuss.

    Right, the core identity of Japanese girls…

    Btw, a roach scene reminds me of Team America, which depicts Kim Jon-Il as an roach.

  6. Has there been any word of how Japan feels about all of this? It’s as if they don’t seem to care, though I can’t blame them. I do think it would be hilarious if fans satirized the manga in a doujinshi.

    I’m also thinking the troops stationed in Japan might have been reading a lot of manga over there and that could’ve have played a role in the production.

    LaMoe, I do agree that this is U.S. propaganda being forced down people’s throats.

    1. I don’t know if this manga will be as well recognized as Leni Riefenstahl’s films. If not, Obama failed his PR campaign as imperialist. Yeah, doujinshi satire would be cool. A kind of Hetalia Axis Powers?

      Yeah, early August is very sensitive time in Japan, nuke days, and surrender day. So, it’s far from being coincident to annouce the manga around this time. Exploiting moe seems desperate attempt, since US troops have been depicted as rapist in the Japanese media, a similar view shared by Obama’s ex-pastor. On 1995 rape case in Okinawa, Admiral Macke famously said, “Why didn’t they buy a hooker?” Macke The Knife moment.

      In Japan, moe is also exploited by a group of people glorifying its militarism past, which the rest of East Asia may find offensive.
      http://www.ikaros.co.jp/moeseries/index.html#08

      Moe is now a powerful political tool, I guess.

    1. Well, if Miku herself couldn’t be shown, Kan Naoto has failed. No wonder he lost the election for House of Councilors on July.

      Yea, Asou Tarou made a campaign speech in Akiba. He was a terrible speaker. He couldn’t even compete with Koizumi for the talent of presentation.

    1. I really don’t know what Koizumi thinks. But probably his reaction was what exactly depicted in that mahjong anime. How they depict world leaders are really bad. Bush with klan’s hood and dixie’s shirt. And evil looking Chinese leaders. I was laughing hard. It was way more hilarious than Hetalia.

      Koizumi is a very unique person in a rather rigid Japanese society, so he’s been a favorite parody of the media.

  7. Honestly, if the Japanese don’t like having American military bases on their soil, maybe they shouldn’t have embarked on a genocidal campaign of world domination.

  8. This manga must be translated into English, so the US Army at home can get what they’re tryin’ to sell to the Okinawan people(who are still PO’ed at the military presence years after the war ended). My best guess is that the person who came up with this was influenced by the more anime-loving members of the core, who might perceive is to be what the average Japanese enjoys and prefers(keep in mind that Japan also has a long history is using anthropomorphizing hard sell concepts like war and politics: IE Tora! Tora! Tora! and Afganis-tan)

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