Sailor Moon was the hottest thing in the 90s, and she’s still so strong that Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare decided to recruit the cartoon character to battle sexually transmitted diseases and encourage young people to practice safe sex.
According to the BBC, Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi created the new campaign for the Japanese government. As part of the push to get people to actually use condoms, they’ve put Sailor Moon’s blonde, smiling face on condom packages. That could turn them into collector’s items, but hopefully people will still actually want to tear them open and use them.
The condoms will be distributed in pink, heart-shaped packages along with fliers featuring Sailor Moon giving information about how to get tested for STIs, including HIV and syphilis.
“If you don’t get tested, I will punish you!!” she says, in a helpful play on her famous catchphrase: “In the name of the moon, I will punish you!!”
The ministry of health says the super-cute 60,000 heart-shaped informational packets and free Sailor Moon condoms will be distributed around Japan as part of an effort to raise awareness among young women about STIs, safe sex practices, and the importance of getting tested. The Sailor Moon campaign is specifically intended to appeal to young women, because the ministry of health says STIs are on the rise among young women in recent years. Syphilis infections in particular are reportedly increasing in Japan. According to the ministry of health, there were 621 syphilis cases reported in 2010, and so far in 2016 more than 3,000 new cases have been reported.
Putting a character from a kid’s cartoon on condoms might seem like an odd juxtaposition, but Sailor Moon is an enormously popular global brand with fans of all ages. It’s not just for kids, and the show and comics are very popular with young adults.
Convincing young people to use condoms is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of STIs, lower unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates, and prevent infection-related fertility loss. People have been telling young people to use condoms for decades now, but it seems like one of the most effective ways to get them to actually do that is to just make the condoms cooler. If putting Sailor Moon’s face on an STD pamphlet makes a person more likely to read it, then that’s fantastic. And Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi deserves a round of applause for putting her characters to work in the interest of public health.
Now if only we could get our hands on some of these in the U.S., a lot of people would be really excited.