Politicians and activists push for television ban of popular blue character regarded as corrupting influence on children
Politicians and activists in India and Pakistan are campaigning to ban the popular Japanese cartoon cat Doraemon from television screens because they say it corrupts children.
Social conservatives have called on the authorities to banish Doraemon, a blue feline robot from the 22nd century, for encouraging children to misbehave at school and at home, according to media reports.
The campaign gathered momentum this summer when Malik Taimur, a member of the opposition Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, said Punjab should ban 24-hour cartoon channels and singled out Doraemon as the worst offender.
The assembly in the most populous province was due to discuss the resolution later this month, Japans Nikkei business paper said.
The language that is used in the cartoons is destroying our societal norms, the resolution said in urging the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to banish the cat from TV screens. The resolution also voiced concern that Doraemon was dubbed into Hindi, rather than Urdu, for viewers in Pakistan. Our children unconsciously learn Hindi words, which mar the purity of out language and distort our religious beliefs, it said.
When the resolution was reported in August, social media users ridiculed the PTI, which is led by the former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan. Moonraolive asked on Twitter: Is Doraemon using any gadget against Imran Khan? Some declared: We are all Doraemon.
Doraemon, which first appeared in manga form almost 50 years ago, has been held up in Japan as an example of the power of technology to improve peoples quality of life.
Doraemons detractors, however, say the shows use of gadgets encourages children to depend on others rather than solve problems for themselves, the Nikkei said. They are particularly critical of its 4D Pocket, whose array of gadgets includes an anywhere door and bamboo copter.
Ashish Chaturvedi, a prominent Indian social activist, has urged the government and broadcasters to ban Doraemon cartoons, despite their popularity in the country.
Chaturvedi told the Nikkei that Doraemon and its hapless schoolboy sidekick, Nobita, had set a poor example to children, who had started answering back to their parents and refusing to do their homework.
He even claimed an exam-fixing scandal involving government jobs and places at colleges in the state of Madhya Pradesh in 2013 had been partly inspired by Doraemon and Nobitas antics.
Doraemon has attracted legions of fans in Japan and other countries with its teleportation powers, addiction to sweet bean pancakes and ingenious gadgets. The anime version has been translated into more than 30 languages.
The manga, created by Fujiko F Fujio, has sold more than 100m copies. In 2002, Time magazine named Doraemon one of its Asian heroes, and in 2008 it was appointed a Japanese cultural ambassador.
This isnt the first time Doraemon has been labeled a corrupting influence. In 2014, a Chinese newspaper accused the character of political subversion and of being part of a plot to portray Japan in a gentler light in the midst of a tussle over ownership of the Senkaku Islands.
Just a year later, however, it was praised for easing diplomatic tensions, after Chinese parents and children packed out cinemas to watch the 3D animated film Stand By Me Doraemon.
Last year, another Japanese cartoon character, Crayon Shin-chan, fell foul of the authorities in Indonesia, which warned broadcasters to censor images of the precocious five-year-olds bare buttocks and other scenes deemed inappropriate for young viewers.