Local Mascot Is Back: Disappeared For 3 Months Following Tweets About World War II
Back in August, Manbe-kun, the mascot of the Hokkaido town of Oshamambe stirred up controversy through his Twitter account. The tweets took place during the week marking the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, a time when many documentaries highlighting the horror and suffering of the war are aired on Japanese TV. It seems that Manbe-kun saw one of these documentaries, and decided to tweet about it.
Here are some translations:
“I watched a TV documentary. Japan back then was just like North Korea today!”
“No matter how you look at it, Japan’s war of aggression started it all. Thank you!”
“Three million Japanese people died. Japan caused the deaths of 20 million people in Asia.”
The tweets pretty much follow the official government and mainstream view of the war in Japan, where public opinion polls have consistently shown that only a small minority of the population does not think that Japan waged a war of aggression.
Nevertheless, it was considered controversial for a town mascot to make such strong statements. Nobody elected him as a political representative of the town’s historical views. The town received a lot of complaints, so they banned Manbe-kun from using his Twitter account and made him take a break from his official duties.
Here’s a news report from 3 months after the incident. It shows Manbe-kun’s first public appearance since the scandal:
When asked to comment about finally being allowed to appear in public again, Manbe-kun expressed no particular feelings about the issue. Looks like they’ve trained him to act like a proper mascot character…