In the name of the moon, our beloved Sailor is still shielding us from the nasties of the night 25 years on. But this is a whole new mission, much more real and potentially more frightening than anything the Dark Kingdom could throw at us. She and her creator Naoko Takeuchi have teamed up with Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, so as long as you stick with Usagi, no harm will come to you. At least not from sexually transmitted infections.
This might all seem quite cute and a little silly, but this public awareness campaign is warning against a recent rise in STIs, such as syphilis, among young women in Japan. Whereas the number of reported syphilis patients in the country stood at 621 in 2010, that annual figure’s jumped up 4.3 times to 2697 in 2015. This year alone, up to mid-October, at least 3000 Japanese people have contracted the disease.
To promote prevention, early detection and treatment of chlamydia, HIV and other STIs, 5000 posters and 156,000 leaflets will be distributed through local governments and groups like the Japan Medical Association, Japanese Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention. And on top of that, the government will distribute 60,000 condoms in heart-shaped packaging, sweetly adorned with the Pretty Guardian’s image. The tagline on the posters plays on her famous catchphrase, declaring “If you don’t get tested, I will punish you!!”
It’s a scary possibility, but with sexual health and STIs, as with all things, awareness is better than ignorance. It’s great that fans of Sailor Moon in Japan, many of whom are women in their 20s, will be able to keep themselves protected with the help of a character they admire. Play safe out there, everyone.