My little sister can’t possibly be this politically active, can she?
Later this year, 18 and 19-year-olds across Japan will suddenly find themselves with a power their predecessors didn’t have: the ability to vote. While legal adulthood still doesn’t technically begin in Japan until the age of 20, last year the government made the decision to lower the voting age from 20 to 18, the first reduction since the 20-year-mark was set following the end of World War II.
This means that a few million first-time voters will be able to play a part in this summer’s upper parliamentary elections. But just like teen comic book heroes need to learn to use their superpowers responsibly, so too do Japanese teens need to learn about their newfound political ones. For that purpose, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts, and Telecommunications is holding a series of symposiums around the country to explain the election process to teen voters.
Despite its extremely wordy name, or perhaps because of, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts, and Telecommunications is aware of the effectiveness of visual forms of communication. That’s why the organization has enlisted Kirino Kosaka as a spokesmodel for its teen education efforts. Japanese animation fans might recognize Miss Kosaka’s name, as she’s the female lead of anime, manga, and light novel series Oreimo, also known as My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute.
▼ “My Little Sister Can’t Be the Spokesmodel for the 18-Year-Old Election Campaign ～Learning About 18-Year-Olds and the Election with Kirino Kosaka～
宝宮 よき (@yktkrmy) February 09, 2016
Kirino will appear in an informational booklet, with illustrations by Oreimo manga artist Tsukasa Fushimi, which will be distributed for free at select Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts, and Telecommunications election symposiums. While Kirino is just 14 at the beginning of the Oreimo franchise, the version of the character portrayed in the booklet is 18, making her old enough to vote under the new Japanese law.
And yes, the suggestiveness of Oreimo’s title is intentional. The series is happy to wrap itself in incest-themed anime tropes, as well as indulge in a bit of otaku wish-fulfillment fantasy with two of Kirino’s most passionate hobbies being anime and erotic video games. So while Japan may not be the otaku paradise some imagine it to be, it is nonetheless a country where horny anime fans are being courted as a legitimate political constituency, unlike some other places.