Why Japan Is Delighted with Obama's Twitter Account

Illustration for article titled Why Japan Is Delighted with Obama's Twitter Account
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Right now in Japan, President Obama is trending on Twitter. It's not his politics. It's not something he said. It's something he's done. Rather, it's something his Twitter account allegedly did.

In Japan, people are saying President Obama's official Twitter account is following an anime girl. Make that, an anime girl bot.

Okay, yes, Obama's campaign staff runs his official Twitter account. And yes, his Twitter account is following well over 600,000 people.


But, the President does use it to tweet. And look! The anime bot was apparently added shortly after Vice President Joe Biden.

The anime bot in question is Akari from manga and anime series YuruYuri. Akari is the series' 13-year-old protagonist.

Her account, which is named the "I love Akari bot" in Japanese, spits out tweets as if Akari wrote them. That's right, the President of the United States' official feed is apparently being gummed up with anime girl prattle. Or is it?

Illustration for article titled Why Japan Is Delighted with Obama's Twitter Account

As Japanese website Otanew pointed out, the President has a huge number of Twitter followers, and the bot's account does not appear to be where it was in the screen capture that originally went viral.

That's because this appears to be an internet gag. Doesfollow.com shows that the President does not follow this anime girl. The Akari doesn't even follow the President.


Still, anime geeks in Japan are over the moon about the notion that the President is into gooey cute anime, with people writing things like, "I dig Obama for this" and "lulz". After appearing on a Japanese web forum, the Obama-follows-an-anime-girl story went viral, and Obama even started trending on Twitter in Japan. Guess that makes this a big fucking deal!

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(Top photo: AP/Twitter/YuruYuri)

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Is it right or left wing if I prefer my president's nerdiness to be directed toward Western things? Or is it something altogether worse?