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The ILC Supporters – celebrities for the linear collider

| 4 October 2018


Kimura U explains the “ILC Supporters” movement.

tanaka_yasuyuki_1000_750_gsThe ILC Supporters are a Japanese movement, and so many things about this group are particularly, to European and American minds sometimes exotically, Japanese. Take our ILC Supporter member and interviewee, for example. Her name is Kimura U and she is a designer. She is also, and notably, Japan’s “kawaii ambassador”– official if unpaid posts created by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to spread culture through cuteness (“kawaii” means “cute”). “Kawaii ambassadors mingle cuteness and culture into one,” she explains , “and by doing so, the Ambassadors help people outside of Japan become interested in the country.” A look at her Instagram account confirms a lot of kawaii: pink, glitter, unicorns and extravagant frilly dresses… (and ILC).

The ILC Supporters were founded in May 2018 as a group of people in Japan who want to realise the ILC. By the beginning of September, they had already amassed 202,309 followers and members through events and social media. The movement was founded by Mamoru Oshii, film director of world fame whose works include a number of popular anime, including Urusei Yatsura, Ghost in the Shell, and Patlabor 2: The Movie. “I understand the ILC is a machine to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang, the state of the birth of our Universe. I expect that the research to be conducted at the ILC will bring the maximum technology breakthrough ever in human history,” Kimura summarises.

So the ILC Supporters organise events at which they talk about the science, the aims, the technology and the benefits of the ILC to a Japanese general public, using their celebrity status to create awareness and support for the mega science project. They take to social media to show off the specifically created (temporary) sign and spread the word about the project.

Kimura U is particularly proud of the ILC talk shows. “I think I am good at explaining the ILC to people. The ILC is a very difficult topic for people who are not interested in science at all,” she says. “I regard myself as “Otaku” (geek), and when I talk about something I love, I am unstoppable. I think when someone talks about something with real excitement, it will resonate to the heart. This power of excitement is essential when you want people’s understanding.”

That is also how she joined the movement: having always been into science and medicine, she often goes to see professors and ask them to show her their experiments in her private time, incognito with her job kept secret. “I never told anybody about my secret activity, but one day, Hiroaki Takeuchi, one of the founding members of the ILC Supporters, asked me to join. He is a great animation producer, and I always admired him, so I was very happy he asked. It felt like destiny. If you keep doing what you love, that will lead you to the place you love.” She thinks that the ILC supporters should communicate more in the community, and transmit many people’s passion.

The sign of the ILC Supporters is a logo that can be downloaded from their website and is distributed at events. It was created by Koji Morimoto, a famous animator, and depicts his association with the idea “elementary particle.” “To me, it looks like a compass, the compass seeking the future which human being should do for,” Kimura explains. “I put the sticker on my cell phone.“

The ILC Supporters are not exclusively Japanese, though – on the contrary. International support and the diversity of faces of researchers and ILC fans shows the global nature of the project and adds some exoticism for the Japanese general public. You too can post, share, tweet on any social media with under the hashtag #ILCsupporters. Kimura says: “There is no border, so please do not see the ILC supporters movement as something happening in foreign country. Let’s unravel the mystery of the origin of the universe together!”

Apart from generating public support for the ILC in Japan and being ambassador of cute, Yu Kimura has her own brand KawaiiHolic., producing fashion shows and cultural events in many countries. “Right now, I am drawing a cartoon called “Pista and Chio” which will be translated into English soon,” she says. “This cartoon will be animated. Please check it on my Instagram!”


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