Japan uses anime to target young voters

A still from the Nara city anime video shows three girls celebrating their 18th birthdays. Image copyright NaraCityPR
Image caption Turning 18? Enjoy some cake and a cartoon on the importance of voting

Japanese cities are using manga and anime to persuade young people to vote in forthcoming elections.

The popular formats feature in local electoral commission materials aimed at newly enfranchised 18- and 19-year-olds, which explain why going to the polls is important, The Japan Times website reports. Last year, Japan lowered the voting age from 20 to 18 - the first change in seven decades. An election on 10 July to choose members of the upper house of parliament will be the first national poll since the law changed.

Officials in the city of Nara have created a five-minute-long anime video on the importance not only of voting, but of making an informed decision at the ballot box. It shows three girls celebrate turning 18, two of whom don't intend to use their votes. Other characters then warn the girls that it's never been more important to make their voices heard. It ends with what the paper describes as a "perky, off-key song" about nearing adulthood and thinking for yourself.

Another city opted for a manga flier in which the local mascot tells 18-year-olds that politicians will have to listen to their opinions if they vote. Political parties are getting in on the act too, issuing manga pamphlets and posters in advance of the election.

Lowering the voting age to 18 added an estimated 2.4 million voters to the Japanese electorate, but the legal age for several other activities has been kept at 20, including drinking and smoking.

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