Airlifting anime to starving Iraqis

Anyone out there remember Dave Chappelle’s “Black Bush” skit? With the scene that went like this:

BLACK BUSH: I got a coalition of the willing! I got 40 nations ready to roll, son!
REPORTER: Like who?
BLACK BUSH: Who the f— said that? Like who? Uh… England. Japan’s… sending Playstations…

Well, although I haven’t seen any Playstation stories yet, here’s the next best thing, which I swear I am not making up:

The Japan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Animation International Middle East, has decided to provide an Arabic-dubbed version of the soccer animation TV program “Captain Majed” (originally “Captain Tsubasa”) to the Iraq Media Network (IMN) as grant aid.

As soccer is a popular sport in Iraq, it is expected that the TV program will strengthen goodwill toward Japan on the Iraqi side. In particular, it may provide dreams and hopes for the children of Iraq, who will shoulder the future of the country.

The conclusion of the agreement for this grant aid took place on March 2 between the IMN and the Japan Foundation, and the program will be provided to the IMN within coming days.

Holy crap, can diplomats be any more irrelevant? Although I have to admit, if you dub this show in Arabic, it might seriously look like a show about Iraqi soccer players.

5 thoughts on “Airlifting anime to starving Iraqis”

  1. Hm, I remember reading in the Asahi that Captain Tsubasa was popular in Iraq before the invasion… I suppose what’s happening here is that the Japan Foundation is letting Iraq have it for free instead of selling the rights. Whatever company owns the show was more than likely handsomely reimbursed for their generosity.

  2. Actually, I think that things like this can have a surprisingly powerful effect on perceptions. Of course this kind of thing is difficult to measure, and there is a tendancy (both in and out of Japan) to grant soft power much more influence than it probably really does have.

    Still, Roy will remember the taxi ride in Taipei that we shared last October with a Chinese friend of mine in his mid-30s. I remarked that his attitude towards Japan-related issues (East China Sea, History, etc…), while not entirely conciliatory, was much more moderate than that of a younger colleague of his. When I asked him why, one reason he gave was the age difference, but another was that he grew up watching Japanese cartoons, which created a favorable image of Japan for him.

    The content of Chinese education has presumably changed since then, so anyone from a younger generation probably is getting much more official anti-Japan sentiment than my friend, but it’s interesting that he raised it nevertheless.

  3. I do remember – but we should point out that when you say Chinese, you mean PRC Chinese, not Taiwanese Chinese. Pretty much everyone in Taiwan is neutral or better towards Japan, I never spoke to a single person who was anti. Although of course some people’s mainland-born parents or grandparents are another story.

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