Fintan, the popular twitter character of the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo, gets a new life as an anime hero in a novel promotion of the centennial of the Finnish indedpendence in Japan. Short anime clips to be shared through social media and the web aim to increase the interest of the Japanese audience towards Finland and its centennial through lighthearted stories and humour.
The topics of the three 2-minute anime clips have been chosen among the story ideas submitted in an open idea competition organized by the Embassy of Finland through its digital channels. In the now to be published first episode Fintan tries out some of the Finland-originated unusual world championships that are famous in Japan, namely air guitar playing among others.
Fintan's Japanese language @FinEmbTokyo –twitter account with its approximately 130 000 followers currently ranks number 10 globally among accounts owned by diplomatic missions of any country worldwide.
"Our aim through these short animes is to increase the interest of the Japanese public towards Finland, and convey the message that Finns are innovative but also easy-going and easy-to-approach people, who don't take themselves too seriously", says Markus Kokko, Counsellor, Press & Culture of the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo. "Finland's centennial this year together with the centennial of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Finland in 2019 gave us the impetus to do something special in the field of public diplomacy. Anime was chosen as the platform as it is something very Japanese but universal at the same time, and interesting also to the Finnish audience."
The first short anime will be published 27th February at the press event featuring Finland's centennial events in Japan, organized by the Embassy in Tokyo's Bunkamura cultural facility. The three language versions of the anime can be watched from 27th February at 9 am Finnish time (4 pm Japan time) through the social media channels of the Embassy of Finland as well as though the Embassy's YouTube channel.
The second episode of the anime series will be published in April, and the third one later this year. The animations have been produced by animator Kenji Itoso together with his production group in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo. The voice of Fintan is performed by Saori Hayami, one of the most popular voice actors in Japan.
The project is part of the official program of the the centenary of Finland’s independence.
The Embassy of Finland in Tokyo has also started a cooperation with the Tampere University of Applied Sciences within which the students of the university will construct a space in virtual reality (VR), where anybody can get to know the Finnish sauna guided by Fintan. The project is due to be completed by late autumn 2017, after which it can be presented to Japanese stakeholders in events of the Embassy and its partners.