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.