Swaying kiwis welcome Jacinda Ardern to Japan
Henry Cooke

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been enjoying a visit to Japan recently, and it looks like the country has taken unexpected steps to make her feel at home.

A viral video shows two huge mascots shaped as kiwifruit greeting her and her party in Tokyo, dancing slowly to sad music.

We have no idea why, but it’s an incredible clip nonetheless.

It’s part of the first ambassadorial trip she’s been able to make outside of the country for two years due to the pandemic, and it’s certainly not what she expected to see on her first visit.

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A clip posted by journalist Henry Cooke shows the fruity pair swaying mournfully to sombre music in front of an audience of seated men in suits.

“This is the greatest day of my life,” Cooke wrote, adding that it was “especially touching when the music got sadder, and the mascots’ dancing changed with it.”

He also clarified that the mascots were part of an event hosted by Zespri, New Zealand’s kiwifruit export monopoly, rather than a welcome from the Japanese government.

The kiwifruit is, of course, the national fruit of New Zealand, and while the dancing mascots provided a totally bizarre start to the trip, you can’t deny they went to serious effort to make them feel at home.

As Stuff reports, Ardern told the crowd that grandparents used to grow kiwifruit.

“This is very literally the fruit of Kiwis,” she said.

It turns out Kiwifruit is a big deal in Japan, with the country importing $600m worth of product from New Zealand.

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