VIDEO: Japanese navy's popularity contest goes viral

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Somewhere between “American Idol” and the Navy Times Sailor of the Year award lives Mr. and Ms. JMSDF, the ongoing Japanese navy-sanctioned popularity contest that’s down to six sailors — three men, three women.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced a nine-minute video starring the sextet, complete with special effects, a stirring action-movie-esque soundtrack and a voice-over from an actor one can only assume is Japan’s answer to America’s gone-but-never-forgotten “In a world …” guy:

For those who can’t sit through a nine-minute foreign film, the choices are:

  • Men: A P-3 crew member, a security forces specialist and a navy diver.
  • Women: Another P-3 crew member, a sailor working in an Atsugi aircraft control tower and a ship’s navigator-slash-possibly-public affairs officer — or, as Google Translate put it, someone who works “to seek the understanding of ‘local residents to convey the appeal of ship.'”

The public will decide the winner by voting on an official JMSDF smartphone app (available in Apple and Android versions, but you’ll need to pass a quiz to vote), according to multiple media reports. Some of those reports cast the contest as more of a beauty pageant (“Looking hot in uniform” or “The search to find Japan’s most attractive marines”), but it appears to be more about popularity — and a way to promote the Japanese fleet to young, tech-savvy citizens.

More than 100,000 votes have been cast, according to the London-based Telegraph newspaper. The contest reportedly wraps up later this month, with videos of the winners debuting early next year.

Would this work in the U.S. Navy? Are we overdue for a “Global Force Idol” pageant? Let us know in the comments below.

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