Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I think this is old news on the Net, but the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced an ad that is has begun to show on big screens at major intersections now and will soon be on TV. It's a bit embarrassing as a Japanese, but I guess it makes us look less threatening...

via Wirefarm

See the JMSDF site for the movie.


Reminded me of the Japanese TV show with dancing naked guys wearing a patch of green.

BBC World this morning started to air an advert with Junichiro Koizumi promoting foreign investment in Japan.

It is pretty cool. It is available for streaming in various formats from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) website:

Yeah, less threatening, definetly.
But on the other hand more peacefull and entertaining, this is what we in germany quite call a Zivilgesellschaft, or Spassgesellschaft ;]

be happy about it, german ads or navy or army always show young men, having a great time crawling through the mud. This is embarrasing!

Forgive my ignorance, but you'll notice that this commercial features the "old" flag; does anyone know if the navy runs this flag on their ships? That flag definetly has distinct connotations for certain groups of people, so I'm a little suprised to see it displayed so prominently in a high-run advertisement like this.


I keep watching the video, expecting them to transform into Sailor Scouts.

And where's "Tuxedo Mask"?

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
They have everything For young men to enjoy.
You can hang out with all the boys.

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
You can get yourself clean
You can have a good meal
You can do whatever you feel.

Joi, forgive me. I had my mute button pressed, so I had to make up my own soundtrack.

Either way.

We've just had the annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade here in Sydney last weekend. I thought it was one of the floats from the parade.

Jeanne beat me to it...

This ad gives a new meaning to the idea of protecting the Pacific Rim (cough)...

Now we have the JGSDF guys in Iraq with their manditory mustaches so maybe they map to the Village People Cop, so the JASDF would be what? the Cowboy? I fully expect them to produce an ad of men in chaps and cowboy hats dancing around an Appache strike chopper. Maybe featuring the guys from SMAP.

Glad to know my tax money is well spent on this sort of crap.

So impressed, I wrote a haiku.

Gay dancing seamen
stains the image of Japan
maritime defence.

... not sure about punctuation though.

I think these were the lyrics that actually go with that piece. Not YMCA.

OMG, are they *really* broadcasting that stuff?

Koizumi's hammy, predictable and sirupy "Invest in Japan" ad was already bad enough, but this Maritime SDF sample is also, er, a class act. But then again, I guess the film-makers should be commended for the creativity they displayed, succeeding in projecting such an utterly non-threatening, boring, cartooney and cute character while using fit young men instead of Hello Kittys :-)

The choreography's gay connotations some pointed out totally escaped me -- a bit like the racism charges levelled against "Lost in Translation", by the way. Yup, I'm superficial, so sue me. Did anybody notice that the main gaijin characters depicted in that film were one-dimensional in the sense that they really fit current Japanese stereotypes, i.e. that gaijins don't understand the Japanese language, culture or customs, and move in a parallel, and disconnected, universe even though they might physically be in Japan ? ;-)

How come part of the commercial is in English? We never have bilingual military commericals, always one language.

Part of it is english to make it more "cool" or "trendy". It is very comon in Japan to see various words or phrases in english on signs, store windows, and tv ads.

Some examples are available at

WaiWai has picked up on this one as well

Dear sir or maam,

I am a student of Toshu Kakuto Kempo Jujitsu. my sensei studied toshu kakuto kempo jujitsu for many years in oklahoma city back in the 70's. He achieved the level status of shihan. Mysteriously, one day, however my sensei's instructor calvin neilson disappeared without notice, leaving only my sensei the dojo. Since that day, my sensei has struggled to find out the roots of Toshu Kakuto Kempo Jujitsu. My sensei has been ineffective in his search. This year (2004), he found a book published by the Japanese Defense Force that illustrated Toshu Kakuto Kempo Jujitsu. The book is in Japanese only. We cannot read Japanese. My sensei has written the Japanese Defense Force and he has had no returned letter.
As a dedicated student, I am highly interested in researching and finding answers to the roots of Toshu Kakuto Kempo Jujitsu. I would be greatly honored if you would assist me in this matter. Any information you could provide me in regards to the roots of Yoshu Kakuto Kempo Jujitsu.

I'm doing a research paper on Japanese recruitment vs. US recruitment to show nations as cultures. Could you give me any information about your feelings on SDF? Could I email you specific questions? Any help would be really appreciated!!


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