Proving that, yes, Japan is exactly what it depicts itself to be through "Hello, Kitty" and in anime, the country has named its three Cultural Ambassadors for 2009:
[A] singer dressed in a polka dot shirt with a bunny print, offset by bouffant back-combed hair, a look that has made her a fashion leader in Tokyo teens' favourite haunt, Harajuku.
"Every female from small girls to grandmothers loves pretty clothes," said nurse and part-time model Misako Aoki, now ambassador for the doll-like "Gothic Lolita" style.
Actress Shizuka Fujioka, 19, wears a school uniform even though she's graduated because she felt she missed out by going to a school with an ugly uniform.
The Japanese foreign ministry wants the world to know that its ambassadors accurately represent the nation's culture.
"It's all about mutual understanding," said Tsutomu Nakagawa, the head of the cultural affairs division at the Foreign Ministry, after presenting the three envoys to the foreign media.
"We want people abroad to know these kind of people exist in Japan and to feel close to them."
According to Reuters, the nation's new ambassadors were chosen from a field of finalists that included a 15 year-old leather-jacketed motorcyclist with huge eyes, a geisha, a giant tentacle with a criminal record as a sex offender, and an irradiated tyrannosaurus rex.