Japan wants its citizens to get down and dirty. And to do it as often as possible. At least that is the message being sent by their new 2015 census advertising campaign. In an effort to reverse their worrisome population decline, the Japanese government is paying for video advertisements on television, billboards, and online. These advertisements feature J-pop girls talking serious business while showing off their hot bodies. Welcome to not-so-subtle encouragement that people should go have sex and spawn the future generation. All of this is being done in hopes that it will provide the younger generation a clear message that the only way there will be money to take care of them as they get older is if they starting making babies who will be able to contribute to the national welfare system.

J-Pop cheerleader with a census chart

Just in case people have had more children, but refused to fill out the census five years ago because it wasn’t digital, the Japanese census bureau wants you to know that you can complete the entire process online via computer or mobile device. However, if Japanese citizens are still on the fence about procreating, they need look no further than the official mascot for the census: Census-kun.

Census-Kun mascot

As I see it, rather than encouraging people to create new life, this mascot is more likely to appear in a horror film or serve as a perfect reminder for why people don’t want to have kids. I mean, take a closer look at that image. None of these items are appropriate for a baby. He could hang himself with that sash. He could poke out his eye with that pencil. And, in all likelihood, that smartphone is giving him cancer. All of this is a reminder of the excessive responsibilities and time commitment necessary to being a parent whose child doesn’t grow up to be a criminal  a J-pop girl a burden on the national welfare system.

I give the Japanese government credit for spending big on this census and trying to get people to wake up to the horrible demographic crisis facing the nation, where 26% of the population is senior citizens. I just think that you need to do more to raise your population totals than develop a weird looking baby that makes people want to use birth control, rather than be one of the saviors of the shrinking nation.


Steve Pame

Steve Pame

A part-time graduate student and high school teacher, Steve enjoys just about anything that makes him forget all the student loans he'll never be able to pay back. He enjoys visiting his extended family, spread throughout the world, whenever he has a chance.