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'Eskimo Limon' stars to promote Israel in Japan


Itamar Eichner, ynet news.com, September 12, 2010


They're ambassadors too: The Israeli Embassy in Tokyo plans to launch a campaign to rebrand Israel in Japan with the help of the three stars of Israeli cult film "Eskimo Limon" ("Lemon Popsicle").

Israeli Ambassador to Japan Nissim Ben-Sheetrit and his aides are behind the initiative. Ben-Sheetrit and his men outlined the need for the campaign to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his visit to Japan, and the FM decided to approve the plan.

"The Japanese don't know anything about Israel besides what they see on television," the ambassador said. "When you show them positive things they change their minds. It's fertile ground for changing the public's opinion of the State of Israel."

The project's crowning jewel is the re-launch of popular 1970s film "Eskimo Limon", which, the embassy is pleased to report, is one of Japan's all-time top 10 movies. The film's stars have become real idols in the Asian country.

"Every other Japanese person that I meet knows the film. It really is a cult film over here. The second thing they remind me when they hear that I am the Israeli ambassador is the song, 'I dream of Naomi', that won in a festival in Japan in 1970 and have been re-released in different renditions by Japanese artists," the ambassador said. "They play this song in the streets and there are quit a few people who don't even remember that it's an Israeli song."

The movie's three stars, Zachi Noy, Yiftach Katzur and Jonathan Sagall, will travel to Japan and attend a line of screenings of the film all over the country.

Also on the agenda in the plan to rebrand Israel is the construction of a "Tel Aviv beach" with paddle ball and popsicles; concerts by Israeli bands such as Hadag Nahash; exhibitions about Israel; Israeli high-tech and science fairs; exhibitions about the Israeli kibbutz; the opening of an Israeli café and more.

Minister Lieberman approved a budget of some $ 100,000 for the campaign.
(Tags: Entertainment, Politics, Japan)