Chile's New President Boric Gets Squirtle Plush From Japanese Minister

Chile's new president picks his Gen 1 Starter.

March 11, 2022

Chile’s new president Gabriel Boric is a Pokemon fan, with Japan’s minister of foreign affairs becoming his Professor Oak and gifting him a Squirtle.

On March 10th, the day before the presidential inauguration of Chilean president-elect and left-wing politician Gabriel Boric, the Japanese minister of foreign affairs Kiyoshi Odawara paid him a visit and gifted him a Squirtle pokemon plush.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric celebrates inauguration with Squirtle plush fom Japan

According to several Japanese outlets, Gabriel Boric was asked to name his favorite pokemon during the Chilean presidential campaign. Boric answered in December 2021 that it’s “definitely Squirtle”, hence why Japan’s minister chose this pokemon as an inauguration gift.


Who is Gabriel Boric?

Gabriel Boric, a former student activist leader, won the presidential election in December last year with the highest number of votes in the history of Chile. Boric, who will become the youngest president in the history of Chile at 36 years old, is part of the first generation of Pokemon fans. Having discovered the series with Kanto, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander. Boric later shared the moment when he received the Squirtle plush on Twitter and thanked Japan:

Successive Japanese governments have been using anime and pop culture as part of “Cool Japan” and strengthening Japan’s image overseas for years now. In particular, Pope Francis received an “anime coat” during his visit in 2019.

More recently, game and anime-related songs were played for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The move was met in Japan with both praise and harsh criticism, most notably this viral column from freelance writer Waniwave on the gaming site Game Spark.

In related news, The Pokemon Company just announced Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Gen 9 of the series, coming to Nintendo Switch in late 2022. Several new pokemon have been revealed including the three new Starters. Who’s your favorite Starter among Gen 1, and who do you plan to pick in Gen 9? Tell us in the comments below!

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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