Otaku USA Magazine
Government Member Expresses Cool Japan Reservations

At a recent lower house budget committee meeting, opposition lawmaker Tomohiko Kinoshita used the floor to express his reservations about the government’s Cool Japan program, which gives financial support to companies that promote Japanese pop culture, according to Japanese news blog Livedoor.

To make his point, Kinoshita pointed to site Tokyo Otaku Mode, which has received Cool Japan funds, and its shop, which features bishoujo figurines in compromising poses.

“Is it really okay that the government’s given 1,500,000,000 yen ($13.3 million) to a business that sells these gaudy figurines?” Kinoshita said.

While it’s certainly true the figurines look erotic, said an opposition lawmaker, “these kinds of figurines are also a part of Cool Japan’s success, so they should be respected.”

Earlier in the month, Kinoshita presented examples of Tokyo Otaku Mode pages displaying erotic figurines to members of the cabinet and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is in charge of the Cool Japan program. The erotic figurines then disappeared from Tokyo Otaku Mode’s page. It’s assumed the deletion of the page was due to government orders.

The offending items

Lawmaker Hidehiro Mitani spoke out against Kinoshita, saying his actions had set a bad precedent. Just because the government has invested money, Mitani said, doesn’t mean they should be able to tell a business what to do.

“[Tokyo Otaku Mode] was selling products otaku overseas want,” Mitani said. He acknowledged that while he agrees with Kinoshita erotic figurines are “not wholesome,” he also said, “if only wholesome goods are sold, our culture will be thought of as boring.”

As the government continues to pour money into Cool Japan, the Livedoor article concludes, the controversy will only continue.

One figurine that made Kinoshita’s list

All translations from the Japanese are by the author.

Source: Livedoor

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Matt Schley

Matt Schley (rhymes with "guy") lives in Tokyo, and has been OUSA's "man in Japan" since 2012. He's also written about anime and Japanese film for the Japan Times, Screen Daily and more.