Lovable toon robot cat DORAEMON has been appointed Japan’s cartoon ambassador!
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura appointed the cat an “anime ambassador,” handing a human-sized Doraemon doll an official certificate at an inauguration ceremony, along with dozens of “dorayaki” red bean pancakes — his favorite dessert — piled on a huge plate.
Komura told the doll, with an unidentified person inside, that he hoped he would widely promote Japanese animated cartoons, or “anime.”
“Doraemon, I hope you will travel around the world as an anime ambassador to deepen people’s understanding of Japan so they will become friends with Japan,” Komura told the blue-and-white cat.
The move is part of Japan’s growing use of its immense pop culture influence on a more formal and governmental basis — like the International Manga Award established last year.
Doraemon, a fun loving robot cat sent from the future to aid a schoolboy, debuted in 1969 as a manga. Created by Fujiko F. Fujio, Doraemon has appeared in 1344 manga stories, and been adapted into an even more popular anime series. In 2002 he was voted one of 22 Asian Heroes by Time Asia magazine
As ambassador, the helpful blue feline — or at least a movie ABOUT him — will engage in a whirlwind tour set to include Singapore, China, Spain, France, and other countries.