Meet Prince Pickles, the adorable mascot of Japan’s Self Defense Forces (SDF). For years Pickles and his girlfriend, Parsley-chan, have been spreading warm, fuzzy feelings about Japan’s military. The star of his very own government-sponsored comic book, Prince Pickles’ Diary, the doe-eyed prince plucks Japanese citizens from floodwaters, mans balloonish tanks, and disarms underwater mines. More recently, he’s been spotted—under the banner “For the Future of Iraq”—shaking hands with a cartoon sheik.
Japanese citizens have tended to be suspicious of the SDF, a fact that helps explain Pickles’ b