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Business

Japanese companies enlist 'otaku' culture to reach young people

Characters from Toyo Suisan's Voice Recipe campaign

TOKYO -- "Here you go. Ethnic lemon ramen, Vietnam-style," Ryo Saionji whispers gently into the consumer's ear. "I'm glad you liked it. Ah, you're finally smiling! Your smile ... makes me blush."

     Saionji is a character in Toyo Suisan Kaisha's Voice Recipe campaign to promote its line of raw ramen noodles. But he is not real; he is an anime character created specifically for the campaign, and played by popular Japanese voice actor Nobunaga Shimazaki. There are three other characters in the campaign, all with sweet voices, and played by other dansei-seiyu, the Japanese word for male voice actor.

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