Sailor Moon enlisted by Japan to fight STIs

image copyrightJapan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Japanese anime character Sailor Moon is taking on a new fight: against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The heroine and her creator, Naoko Takeuchi, have teamed up with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to launch a new public campaign.

Officials want to raise awareness about the rise of diseases like HIV and syphilis among young Japanese women.

Condoms and fliers featuring the pretty soldier, as she is famously known as, will be distributed at several venues.

An official press release stated that the campaign hoped to increase prevention, early detection, and treatment of STIs.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionAnime characters often dominate the cultural landscape of Japan

The ministry said it planned to distribute 60,000 of the pink, heart-shaped educational packages.

It also reworked the anime star's famous catchphrase - "In the name of the moon, I will punish you!" - to: "If you don't get tested, I will punish you!".

Sailor Moon was adapted into a TV series in the 1990s that was dubbed and released in overseas markets including Australia and the United States.

Fans on social media expressed amusement and support for the novel approach to sex education.

"I say good for them, in the name of the moon to protect people from STIs and HIV," wrote Josh Hastings in a post on Facebook.

"Moon crystal power - this is an adorable way to market an important message," said another fan.

But the magical-themed sexual education campaign isn't new.

Anime and manga dominate many aspects of Japanese culture and its characters have often been used to promote campaigns and products.

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