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About time: President Obama thanks Japan for manga, anime, emojis

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

At a formal half-hour long ambassadorial ceremony yesterday, President Obama thanked the country of Japan for manga, anime, karaoke and emojis.

To be fair, there may have been a bit more context than that.

Over the course of the full ceremony (which you can watch here), the President mentioned the ways in which Japan has shared its culture and achievements with the First Family since his election; inviting Michele Obama to play taiko drums in one visit, and letting President Obama playing soccer with an Aisimo robot in another. The purpose of all the pomp and circumstance was to celebrate the ties that bind Japan and the United States, not just politically but culturally. Ties that a young Barack Obama first felt while growing up in Hawaii, the home of many "proud Japanese-American families."

And so, the President continued, "Today is also a chance for Americans, especially our young people, to say thank you for all the things we love from Japan. Like karate and karaoke. Manga and anime. And, of course, emojis."

It's safe to say that American culture is a net exporter, rather than importer. But it's also neat to see an acknowledgement of the significant impact of what we do import at, well the executive level.

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