Ultra-nationalist anger at security bills protests manifests as “cute” moe character

As I wrote earlier this year, there is a mini online community in Japan that exists seemingly solely to revel in the subculture of Japanese New Left moe (moé). Users like @honoka51934835, @gabageba07, @samusamu1002 @negi1919 fill their Twitter feeds with archive photos of Zengakuren factions from the 1960’s and 1970’s, and their own cute illustrations of activists (especially female ones).

Here is a particularly inventive pastiche: Jibanyan from Yo-Kai Watch rendered as a student activist, complete with helmet (seemingly identifying him as a member of Fourth International Japan), Molotov cocktail and rifle.

yokai watch jibanyan student activism moe japanese illustration

Beyond the 2D world too, as activism has borrowed the tropes of cosplay throughout the Heisei Period (see freeter protests in particular), so has cosplay likewise borrowed the tropes of activism: and so we arrive at the spectacle of the parody katsudōka at Comiket on the Left and, on the Right, the pantomime of Yasukuni Shrine on August 15th.

And just like the use of cosplay, the moe illustrators have right-wing equivalents too.

With all the summer’s media excitement about the photogenic exploits of SEALDs, you might be forgiven for thinking that no one except the LDP wanted the security bills, which became law last week. But the bills had their supporters and groups like SEALDs also attracted their fair share of flak, offline and on.

And yet even netto uyoku (cyber ultra-nationalists) can be kawaii, you know.

netto uyoku ultra-nationalist right-wing japanese moe illustration character anti security bills

This illustration shows the security bills anthropomorphised as a cute female anime character (spot “Anpo” written on the helmet), crouching down (for the panchira panty shot, natch), as she is tormented by “Japanese and other” protestors. The demonstrators are depicted as cruel creatures in stark black and white; they are evil-looking monsters without human features — just weapons, placards and aggression. The implication — a common fallacy promoted by ultra-nationalists — is that the protestors have been infiltrated by foreign elements opposed to Japan. While some members of SEALDs, for example, are indeed returnees, any trip to the Diet in recent weeks would have made it abundantly clear that the tens of thousands of people demonstrating were not Koreans or Chinese “spies”, but ordinary Japanese citizens.

According to various websites, the illustration is allegedly the recent work of @EIRRI, though it quickly gained a lot of attention and the original file has been since deleted.

At any rate, regardless of authorship, one of the most prominent members of SEALDs, Wakako Fukuda, was decidedly unimpressed: “no wonder why y’all r so dumb.”

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