It is probably every artist or communicator’s dream to create something that will go viral, especially if they want to send a message across to the public. For two Japanese ministry officials, an amateur video they created to explain the concept of “Cool Japan” has gone viral, but probably for reasons they did not intend.
Two twenty-something officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Kazunori Sakamoto and Seito Furuya, tried their hand at making a simple video to explain the government’s Cool Japan campaign, which aims to promote the hip and trendy aspects of Japanese culture abroad. Sakamoto is a fan of the popular anime series Neon Genesis Envangelion, so they used it as their inspiration. They admit that they made it half-jokingly, but they did not expect that it would reach this level of internet notoriety.
Netizens have had a field day criticizing and making fun of the video that was created in just two weeks using a low-powered computer and mostly making use of Microsoft Powerpoint, complete with corny transitions and graphics. While comments on the ministry’s YouTube page are disallowed, people have taken to Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Japan’s 2-Channel bulletin board to talk about the video, which many found to be clumsily made and unknowingly hilarious.
But, are we the ones being trolled? Is this a cleverly disguised “amateur” video that was intentionally made to look that “uncool” so that we’d click on it and talk about it? Well if that’s the case then that is one successful strategy, as they have had over 100,000 views (other videos on their site get 60-200 views). The interview of the two officials with a leading publication also got around 2,000 tweets and Facebook “likes”, which added more to the video’s “popularity”. So even if it was intentional or not, they got what they wanted, which is to have people pay attention to and understand the Cool Japan campaign.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]