Japan's beloved cartoon robo-cat Doraemon took on a new role Wednesday as an “anime ambassador” in a bid to promote the nation's culture and its animation.
Japan's beloved cartoon robo-cat Doraemon took on a new role Wednesday as an "anime ambassador" in a bid to promote the nation's culture.
Masahiko Komura, Japan's usually serious foreign minister, led an upbeat ceremony to appoint the character as Japan's first "anime ambassador" tasked with "making friends by travelling around the world."
"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.
In his acceptance speech, Doraemon said he was eager to promote Japanese culture.
"Through my work, I will do my best to tell people in foreign countries about what Japanese think, how Japanese live and what kind of future the Japanese hope to make," Doraemon said.
Doraemon is the main character in one of Japan's most popular comic series, which has also become widely known in much of Asia since its book debut in 1969.
Created by the late cartoonist Fujiko F. Fujio, Doraemon is a friendly humanoid robot who looks like a blue-and-white cat with no ears.
The appointment is part of Japan's recent effort to harness the power of pop culture in diplomacy. Astro Boy, another cartoon icon, was named last November as ambassador for overseas safety.