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Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense Publishes Manhua To Help Recruit An All-Volunteer Military

Harnessing the power of sequential art as a military tool is nothing new. From wartime propaganda to training manuals for soldiers to exclusive contemporary titles published for America’s own men and women in uniform, comics can handle a lot of the messages the armed forces need to send. Still, for a generation of westerners raised on a steady diet of “Sailor Moon” and “Dragon Ball Z,” it’s a bit of a culture shock to view the government of Taiwan’s new manhua.

According to Taiwan News, the nation’s Ministry of National Defense is publishing a new comic book based on the government’s National Defense White Paper as part of a widespread effort to recruit an all-volunteer army by 2015.

“Through an illustrated and animated dialogue style, the comic-book version of our defense White Paper is expected to inspire teen readers to opt for a military career when they reach the right age, ” a government official told the Taiwan News.
The comic stars three real-life Taiwanese soldiers who work in different arms of the military and aims to explain what life is like for recruits over the course of seven chapters. It also shares a sleek, manga-like art style with much less serious fare.

Honestly, recruitment tactics that reach out to kids much younger than registration age kind of freaked me out as a lad (unless you count Captain America comics full of Nazi punching), but Taiwan’s government seems to be pretty open about their campaign and forming an all-volunteer military is a pretty noble goal in many regards.

What do you think of military recruitment tactics that use comics to communicate with young readers?

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