Navy Spends Your Precious Tax Dollars ... Buying Crate After Crate of Manga
Residents of Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, are concerned about the massive nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which is set to be permanently deployed outside their city. Some say the American ship will hurt the fishing industry; others have safety concerns, especially justified after there was a fire on the George Washington last month.
Solution: charm offensive! Specifically, the Navy dropped $72,000 to commission "Manga CVN 73," a 200-page Japanese-style comic book. Produced by two Japanese artists and named after the ship's hull number, it follows the experiences of fictional Japanese-American Petty Officer 3rd Class Jack Ohara. Over 20,000 copies were printed and, earlier this month, a huge crowd lined up outisde the American base to get their free copies. Commented a naval spokesman to the Navy Times:
"The most-read, most-used medium is manga not TV, not radio, not the Internet. Manga is a traditionally read, heavily sold medium in this country. We went, OK, there you go, the Japanese people have given us the way to talk to them."