by Mohd Rafi Awang Senik
Japan as one of the country in the world who had enormous producing of anime and game characters. The market for its anime and games had been tremendous accepted and flourished around the globe. Furthermore, Japan as the core country existed with the advancement of technology and development (Adhikary, 2015). Hence, it could penetrate and influence other country in the perspective of cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy is a part of public diplomacy. Diplomacy itself is an effort to gain the national interest in international society and to have foreign relations (Kim, 2017). Diplomacy is an effort to struggle its national interest through cultural dimension, such as education, science, sport, art, and other (Warsito & Kartikasari, 2007).
In this paper context, Doraemon one of the examples from many types of Japanese anime that have a popularity and famous worldwide. Doraemon is a Japanese anime series written and illustrated by Fujiko F. Fujio. In early publication, the series only in printing method and appeared for the first time in 1969 in Children’s Monthly Magazine in Japan. Before the series was took part in television series, the English translation came out for comic version. Animated series in television was debuted on 1973 by Nippon Television (Miho, 2014).
Why Doraemon anime as a part of Japanese Public Diplomacy? According to (Snow, 2009) , the countries now impress others with their soft power potential. These include of science, art, culture, sport, education and other things. If we look from the Doraemon anime series, every angle of Japanese culture been portrayed from its family relationship, varieties of food, school environment and positives side of Japan. This image portrayed as a representative image of Japan to the international world (Adhikary, 2015).
In one study conducted by (Kartikasari, 2018) stated that Doraemon as an anime ambassador through the International Anime Award in 2008. It was recognized by the Japanese Foreign Minister on that time because of the big influence of Doraemon. This recommendation and decision made by the Committee of Pop-Culture Experts and the Japanese Cartoon Association with the collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and Ministry of Culture of Japan (Kartikasari, 2018).
The appointment of Doraemon as the anime ambassador, the Japanese government hope that the world community can know the positive side of Japan through the Japanese anime. In addition, it could promote and introduce Japan to the world since it one of successful example of creative global industry. The government of Japan also hope that the presence of Doraemon raises the attractiveness of foreign society towards Japanese culture, tradition, music and technology. All this then formed a fans community that also spread in Asia and America (Kartikasari, 2018).
According to (Nye, 2005), in order to co-opt other groups and parties, the element of attraction is essential. Soft power is the ability to attract, and attraction often leads to acquiescence. Based on this statement, we could see how other foreign countries accepting the Japanese sources like anime, fashion, work culture and food in the local values. In Malaysia, the vision of Look East Policy has been chanted long time ago by Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia Prime Minister. This to imitate how successful Japanese work ethics could be implement and practice in Malaysia (MOFA, 2002).
In Doraemon series also we look how the father’s role in the family as a leader or someone that hardworking and dedicated to his work. This has been portrayed how the cartoon wearing the office suit and sometimes coming back home in late time because of office’s work. Japan uses its anime as their public diplomacy actually because in this modern era, people tend to see the global condition by using simple way and also communication by using modern ways as media device (Mori, 2018).
Media is the place for getting the information or issues and also media can be used or giving the responds towards issues and information. It fits with the public diplomacy theory which is said by the U.S Department of State, Dictionary of International Relations Terms 1987 (PublicDiplomacy.org, 2016), Public diplomacy refers to government-sponsored programs intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries. Its chief instruments are publications, motion pictures, cultural exchanges, radio and television.
Even the series mostly translated into the respective language in specific country, but the environment and message from the animation could be understood and digested. This effectiveness can be seen from the number of foreign students studying Japanese language for example. According to (Mori, 2018) when the anime features particular places as locations. The locations not only get to the viewers’ heart, but also motivate their behavior to visit there. Hence, develop P2P (People to People) diplomacy through international exchange between foreigners and local people. P2P diplomacy involves all the ways in which governments and private individuals, organizations and groups influence foreign policy directly and indirectly (Mori, 2018).
To improve Japanese figures abroad, MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) took the policy by organizing several programs to attract people in other countries. The purpose of these programs actually to enhance the image, enhance mutual trust and respect for the Japanese government and its society. MOFA and Japan Foundation as the actor of public diplomacy to executes programs and strengthening their objectives in enhancing to promote of learning Japanese and culture (MOFA, 2018).
The Doraemon series started it franchise on 2005. At this time the agreement between TV Asahi Corporation and The Walt Disney Company arranged for the series get aired in Disney XD television channel in the United States. The popularity of Doraemon not just appear in television series, but also video games, musical, merchandise and film. From Japan’s view, the acceptance of their product in foreign country not only give a positive image, but from franchising of Doraemon character will boost their economy, particularly in merchandise and copyright (Miho, 2014).
With the large of Japanese anime fans outside from Japan, certain program arranged in local area to attract and showing a positive image of Japanese culture (Kartikasari, 2018). In Malaysia, the Japanese anime fans such as Doraemon, Sailormoon or One Piece could participate and show their interest by participating in the event like Japan Expo, Comic Fiesta and World Cosplay Summit (Paidi, M. Akhir, & Ping, 2014).
These platforms provide a connection and interaction among the fans and indirectly will spread the positive image and views about Japan. The programs usually supported by the Japanese organizations by giving a grant. In Malaysia, the cultural grant aid provided by the Japan government from 1975 to 2016 approximately JPY 1,561.5 Million (MOFA, 2018). Japan Foundation as one of the organization that provide full support as it function in bridging between local people and Japan government. Moreover, its existence located in every country in the world.
In conclusion, the Japanese anime series will give a significant view in the cultural diplomacy. Even if watching the anime could not bring the audiences directly to the Japan’s policies, but in certain level, the message of positive image successfully deliverable. The formation of Japanese identities in every part of the world proved that, without a military weapon also could influence others to accept the characteristic based on the attraction that have in the cultural values.
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