How to interpret Japan’s Animal Quarantine Guide

A few things cross my mind when I look at the Animal Quarantine Guide in the hallways of Narita Airport.

1. Why is the illustration different between the English and the Japanese version?

2. Which version was drawn first?  (Presumably the Japanese.)

3. Was it the same artist? The artistic style looks a bit different, so maybe not. Is the original artist unhappy about this?

Japan Animal Quarantine language

4. How seriously should we interpret the differences between the two versions? For instance, the Japanese version shows the boat gliding through a gentle ocean, whereas the English version shows the bow of the boat pushing water aside, giving the impression of greater speed.

As for the airplane, the Japanese version looks much safer. The man and animals in the Japanese version appear safe and secure, with at least half of their bodies inside the airplane. In the English version, the man in front is holding on for dear life, the dog is blithely standing on top of the plane, and the kitten is perched perilously on top of a round of pork.

Even the airplanes have different personalities: the English plane has ruddy cheeks and his grinning face indicates a love of flying. The Japanese plane is expressionless, stoically transporting his passengers safely through the air. A job well done is joy enough; one need not smile to be happy.

Animal products

Inside, the differences continue. Neither of the women are pleased, but the woman in the Japanese version looks slightly more stern.

Japan Animal Quarantine guide Animal Products

Import inspection procedures

As for the dog and cat, both sets of animals are in good spirits, but the Japanese dog and cat can’t compete with the joy of the animals in the English version. Who knew that the secret to feline happiness was a subcutaneous microchip implant?

Japan Animal Quarantine guide Import inspection procedures

Animals & Aquatic Animals

The rabbit is tie: smiling more in the English version but enjoying a deep lather in the Japanese version. Oddly, on the “Aquatic animals” on this page include a fish and two shrimp in the English version, but only a lone fish in the Japanese version.

Japan Animal Quarantine guide Animals538

Quarantine Detector Dogs

All bets go out the window when it comes to live animals. In both versions the Quarantine Detector Dogs are cute and effective. The dog exclaims, “Detected meat!” /「におうワン。」

You sure did.

Japan Animal Quarantine guide Detector Dogs

See also Custom-kun, the sniffer-dog mascot:

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