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May 25, 2008 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Hello Kitty becomes Japan's ambassador to China. The little half-Japanese, half-English cat has become so globally recognisable that it is, perhaps, inevitable that the Japanese board of tourism has appointed her their official tourism ambassador to China and Hong Kong. This is not the first time the world has looked to Hello Kitty to perform an ambassadorial role; she has been United States children's ambassador for Unicef since 1983.

"It seems predictable enough to have her adopted as a diplomatic envoy," she says. "That has been the way of the 'Cool Japan' bandwagon for a few years now, and relations with China are no healthier. It seems a bit farcical to select Hello Kitty, however: as if a dumbed-down cultural icon that was cool in her retro boom in the 1990s, and which Chinese teenagers dig, can somehow do something significant to alter the gnarly and difficult state of China-Japan relations."
posted by infini (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
God damn it, Japan.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:01 AM on May 25, 2008


Yeah, Japan, quit being so goddamned cute.
posted by malocchio at 9:18 AM on May 25, 2008


This is a direct assault on the intelligence of China's representatives.
posted by SPrintF at 9:35 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I predict a grim future of only war.
posted by Abiezer at 9:37 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Badtz Maru would totally invade North Korea.
posted by box at 9:44 AM on May 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


I predict a grim future of only war.

Indeed.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:48 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I for one welcome our future feline overlords!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:54 AM on May 25, 2008


Xarnap gently pries the artifact from the soil, after ensuring it is all of a piece and will not be damaged or disordered by its removal.

"Another of the figurines, " he mutters into the memocrystal. "The same idol as the others, it would appear." The same infantilized features, exaggerated eyes, and chimeric mix of the human and animal.

Later, at the daily briefing, he expounds on his latest theory.

"It's a single thread!" he exclaims, pounding the table with his actuator. "It's not a distraction from the purpose of our work here! Look - these same trends we have discussed and written papers on for centuries now. The worship of youth, the neoteny and lowering of the age of puberty, the culturul themes. Can you deny that in its latter stages, the race was suffering from a disease of infantilism and immaturity?"

Of course noone can, it is one of the axioms of their field.

"And here we see its direct cause! These are weaponized tokens of cuteness! The correlation of historical trends is undeniable. The geographic spread of these with the other trends we have unearthed. JUST LOOK AT IT! It is clearly a device of psychological warfare! The blank staring eyes - you cannot deny it is unnerving, and we are free of all those neuroses that drove their world. Surely you cannot fail to see the only open question is whether these effects were intentional. And this discovery, this unequivocal use as a tool by one nation against its long-time enemy, resolves that as well. Like the "berzerkers" we read of in that book of myths, these are weapons set loose upon the world in a fit of destructive rage, never knowing how wide and how last their effects would be. We must publish our papers, gather what data we can, and destroy these for the good of future times. It is our duty."
posted by freebird at 10:19 AM on May 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


I predict a grim future of only war.

The kitty is prepared.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:27 AM on May 25, 2008


Oh, good! I blogged about this last week because I really get a kick out of this attitude towards diplomacy and ambassadors--why not start with the children, and try to change attitudes from there? Makes sense to me.

Freebird, I enjoy what you wrote, not just because it is well-written, but because it expounds on something I have long conjectured about archaeology and the liberty archaeologists take with respect to the finds they make. To suggest that human sacrifices were made because a picture on a wall shows a hand holding a dripping, decapitated head may make a certain intuitive kind of sense, but without decapitated bodies to add credence to the theory, it is nothing more than that--don't we put up pictures on our walls of surrealist artists and imaginative structures (think Escher and the like) which have nothing to do with the common practices in our daily lives? Why do we assume ancient races were lacking in imagination?

When we see huge glyphs dug into the ground that 'can only be viewed from space', why can it not mean that the ancients felt that's where the gods in their heavens lived, and they had better make the pictures darn big for the deities to see, and so scaled the glyphs out from pictograms already in use? Why even postulate something so out there as alien intervention?*

*I'm looking at you, movie producers! And if you don't know which movie I mean, never mind, cause I don't want to spoil it for you even though it's stupid.
posted by misha at 10:35 AM on May 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Raspy tongued butt lickers.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:59 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't help but enjoy this. Japan has (inadvertently?) pointed out how ridiculous a "tourism ambassador" is. Maybe now we can stop nodding gravely whenever a stuffed shirt (or animal) with a fancy title opens its mouth (or... doesn't) and start judging based on the actual content instead.

I'd rather have Gamera provide an accurate war assessment than listen to a man with a Senatorial haircut solemnly announce bullshit anyday.
posted by Maxson at 12:00 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, see, she has a magic paint bucket and she can make everything colorful again

I love HK, and I am not ashamed to admit it
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:29 PM on May 25, 2008


When the Chinese proletariat rediscovers the revolution, the first act of the opera will close with Hayao Miyazaki against a cinderblock wall with a SKS barrel up his nose.
posted by bunnytricks at 12:41 PM on May 25, 2008


As I mentioned on my site, if this initiative fails, they can always fall back on Doraemon or Pikachu.
posted by bwg at 3:39 PM on May 25, 2008


I want one.
posted by Wolof at 6:00 PM on May 25, 2008


Doraemon is taken. He/She/It is already the ambassador of Japan for anime.
posted by infini at 10:28 PM on May 25, 2008


Battered China asks old enemy Japan for military for help as flood threat rises
posted by homunculus at 10:23 AM on May 29, 2008


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