Town mascot stirs backlash after ‘war aggression’ tweet

08/16/2011
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The town of Oshamanbe's official mascot " Manbe-kun"

TOKYO (majirox news) — The Hokkaido town of Oshamanbe was swamped with outraged comments Aug. 15 after a tweet in the name of its official mascot Manbe-kun to mark the anniversary of World War II did so by saying “Japan’s war of aggression started everything.”

Town officials were quick to distance themselves in the wake of criticism, saying the tweet had been made by a private company commissioned to make posts on the Twitter microblogging service in the mascot’s name.

Officials said they have reprimanded the Oshamanbe-born website production company executive who has made the tweets in Manbe-kun’s name free of charge since October last year.

“We wanted a character that was cute, not one that’s so sharp-tongued,” an Oshamanbe Municipal Government spokesman said.

Manbe-kun’s controversy started Aug. 14 when tweets in his name began referring to the Aug. 15 anniversary of the end of World War II.

“Let’s study ‘Manbe-kun’s War,” the first tweet said, before going on quickly to another entry. “Three million Japanese died. Japan caused 20 million casualties through Asia.” A final tweet said: “No matter how you look at it, Japan’s war of aggression started everything.”

Online response to the tweets was rapid and furious as irate callers and e-mail complained to the town and asked if Manbe-kun’s messages represented the official view of the town.

Manbe-kun is the town’s official mascot and the Twitter account has about 88,000 followers, attracting many because the sharp-tongued tweets are distant from the character’s soft image in other media.

Manbe-kun’s Twitter operator has been admonished in the past and forced to apologize after criticizing an entertainer.

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4 Responses to Town mascot stirs backlash after ‘war aggression’ tweet

  1. yama on 08/16/2011 at 10:28 am

    What manbe-kun said is accurate, many people are affraid to speak their thoughts, tweets are safe. Good for him, what a boy.

  2. Yu on 08/17/2011 at 6:40 pm

    Oh… This article might make misunderstanding.

    The problem of Manbe-kun is not the comment about the war.
    The acter(?) of his twitter had been tweeted too violent and obscene comment many times like
    “I want to stalk 〇〇〇” ※〇〇〇 is tha name of Japanese idol.
    “I want to make 〇〇〇 pregnant”
    “××× is a madman” ※ ××× is other mascot character.
    “I’ll kill your girlfriend”
    “I’ll kill two children”
    The actor’s company also swindled the fund-raising for the earthquake…
    So, many internet user got angry and objected against him.

    Of cause we know what our army did in the war.
    The day before yesterday is the anniversary of the end of the Pacific War.
    We repented of our sins and prayed for world peace…

    Thank you for your time!
    Sincerely Yours,

    Yu

  3. jim colligan on 08/20/2011 at 4:12 am

    Having lived 7 years in Hokkaido I questioned myself on the location of the town Manbe. I had to look it up, before I noticed mention of Oshamanbe, a station on the train line between Hakodate and Sapporo. Manbe is its mascot. I never had occasion to get off the train the many times I went through Oshamanbe traveling to or from Tokyo. I gather that not much happens there to gather headlines unless an inhabitant makes outlandish statements to the public.

  4. Miu on 08/21/2011 at 7:46 pm

    One opinion caused a big problem. But it is a mistake.
    Before he said something doesn’t become problem. It was joke, twitter followers knew.
    Someone think one is bad, then all is bad.
    Is it really?
    One is a mistake, a mascot doesn’t have to talk about war.
    Now problem not- followers and masmedias attacked him without war aggression tweet.

    Nobody can’t tweet thinking in Japan.

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