politics

“Too Cute” Tokyo City councilwoman has Japanese Netizens swooning

Judging by the sheer volume of these kinds of posts we do, one does get the impression that, while bored westerners are inclined to seek out cute cat videos on the Internet, Japanese Netizens with nothing better to do apparently like to scour the web for pictures of very attractive women working in jobs where being cute isn’t a prerequisite. While you’d think this would be a relatively niche interest when there’s perfectly good adult material available around the corner, “Beautiful Woman Doing Things” posts are everywhere on the Japanese net.

So, without further ado, here’s the latest Beautiful Woman Doing Things from Japan: Hachioji City councilwoman Azusa Sato.

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Otaku assemblyman elected in Ōta-ku, Tokyo

Excitement was in the air all over Tokyo as the votes for regional elections to council seats were talli–hey where are you going!?

Sure, local politics aren’t all that electrifying aside from the occasional eccentrics who throw their shark-tooth necklaces into the ring. But it’s also sometimes the place where small but inspiring stories of success can happen.

Such is the case with Minoru Ogino who was recently elected to Ōta Ward (aka Ōta City) or Ōta-Ku in Japanese. It’s a fitting district to win in as Assemblyman Ogino is Love-Live-lovin’ Kankore sailing otaku himself.

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Dojinshi fans worry trade pact could be the end of Comiket, but is the fear founded in reality?

Whether you call it Comic Market, Comiket, or Comike, the twice-a-year event is the largest gathering of creators and fans of dojinshi, Japanese self-published comics. Each iteration of Comiket draws hundreds of thousands of otaku to its venue at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center.

Something else that’s known by more than one name is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. A proposed trade agreement between a dozen nations, including Japan and the U.S., the legislation is more commonly referred to by the acronym TPP in the Japanese media.

As negotiations between the U.S. and Japan continue, some anime and manga fans are worrying that the Trans-Pacific Partnership/TPP could be disastrous for Comic Market/Comiket/Comike, but just how justified are these fears?

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President Obama thanks Prime Minister Abe for all the cool anime during official visit 【Video】

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently making a diplomatic visit to the United States, where he was received by President Barack Obama. The two heads of state recently appeared before the press in a ceremony where the American President reiterated the importance of cooperation between the two countries, and also thanked Japan for all that cool anime.

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“We should apologize” – Authors Murakami and Hyakuta engage in war of words over words of war

Haruki Murakami and Naoki Hyakuta are two of Japan’s most popular writers. Murakami is the author of such international bestsellers as Norwegian Wood and 1Q84 and is currently a prolific and outspoken blogger on a range of topics from the meaning of life to nuclear power. Hyakuta, on the other hand, is the writer of domestic hits such as Eien no Zero (The Eternal Zero) and Monsuta (Monster) and currently a passionate Twitter user putting out 140-character quips on everything from masturbation to Asian international relations.

Hyakuta also had some sour tweets aimed at Murakami following an interview which at one point dealt with the issue of Japan acknowledging and apologizing for its actions during World War II.

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There might be a Jedi running for mayor of Shibuya

So we all know that Tokyo-area political races can attract some pretty, um… eccentric candidates.

We’ve got perennial Tokyo Governor candidates like Mac Akasaka, representing his own Smile Party (often while dressed like Superman), leader and probably the only member of the World Economic Community Party, Mr. The Only God Matayoshi Mitsuo Jesus Christ, and Rock ‘n Roll Samurai – aka TOKMA – whose big shtick is to dress like a samurai and play war-mongering rock ‘n roll music.

But, despite their crazy antics and lofty-sounding, self-appointed nicknames, these men are all mere Earthlings. What Tokyo needs is a true leader. A man of stellar moral character. Someone who can protect Tokyo from the inevitable threat posed by evil empires from other galaxies. In other words, Tokyo needs a Jedi. And that’s why Mutsuto Imajo gets our vote for Shibuya Mayor!

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25-year-old NEET running for Chiba city council seat, partly on platform of fiscal responsibility

Japan uses the term NEET to describe adult members of the population who are neither working nor going to school (not, in actuality, a special forces-style combat brigade). Broken down into its components, the acronym stands for “not in education, employment, or training.”

Of course, nothing in the label says anything about not being in government, which is why one ambitious Japanese NEET is running for city council.

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Nurse cosplay: Would-be Hiroshima City Councilwoman’s innovative campaign tactic

With over a million people living in Hiroshima, we imagine at least a few residents are still undecided about who to support in the upcoming city council elections. But with less than a month until they cast their votes, it’s time for them to start narrowing down their selection.

The multitude of political parties in Japan means that sometimes candidates can start to blur together in voters’ minds, though. Standing out from the crowd isn’t a problem for Naomi Kikuura, however. After all, when was the last time you saw a would-be city councilwoman appear in her political ads doing nurse cosplay?

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Anti-Japanese protestors “execute” effigy of Prime Minister Abe with ISIS-style beheading 【Video】

This is no April Fool’s joke: on April 1, a group of  anti-Japanese protestors gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul, Korea to rally against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressing the U.S. Congress later this month.

Things started to get out of control when an effigy with Abe’s face was beheaded ISIS-style, and a Japanese imperial flag was sliced to pieces with a knife. The protest is being called “too extreme” even by those sympathetic to their cause.

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Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says he pays his Facebook and Twitter fees just like everyone else

Has Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fallen for one of those “Facebook to start charging” hoaxes?

Abe found himself the butt of the joke in parliament this week after slipping up on the subject of social media. The prime minister proudly told the House of Councillors on Wednesday that of course, he pays his Facebook and Twitter membership fees.

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After Obama’s otaku outing, images surface of Love Liver Joe Biden getting cozy with anime idols

Late last month, we got indisputable visual evidence (which is by no means to be confused with humorous photoshopped evidence) of something we’ve been suspecting for the last several years: U.S. President Barack Obama is a huge fan of cute girl anime.

Politics being what they are, the vice president tends to follow the president’s lead on major issues such as foreign affairs, economic policy, and what gets watched on the federal property DVD players after all those press conferences are over. So it’s only natural that images, every bit as convincing as those of President Obama, have now surfaced showing Vice President Joe Biden to be passionately infatuated with the teenaged idols of anime Love Live!

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“Northern Territories Day” commercial accused of promoting excessive nationalism

Since 1981, Japan has observed February 7 as “Northern Territories Day,” which commemorates the signing of an 1855 treaty granting the nation possession of a chain of islands off the coast of Hokkaido.

In a recent commercial titled “Drawing the Northern Territories,” a male voice begins: “Even though it’s Japanese territory, Japanese people can’t live here.” Pastel drawings of picturesque mountains and fishermen at work segue into a shot of a woman looking out across a stretch of sea to a rocky outcrop. “Look, it’s so close,” continues the narrator, as “16 km” appears across the bottom of the shot. The ad ends with the message: “The Northern Territories: inherently Japanese.”

Harmless patriotism, or government propaganda? Public reactions seem to be leaning toward the latter.

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Chinese netizens left reeling after father of slain Japanese hostage apologizes to the public

You’re no doubt aware of the (at time of writing) ongoing hostage crisis that has swept Japan, Jordan and those country’s allies up in a tense political chess match as representatives attempt to negotiate with the fundamentalist Islamic militant group ISIS for the release of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot and a Japanese war journalist Kenji Goto. The crisis has certainly been nerve-wracking and immeasurably scary for those with ties to the hostages.

But, for Chinese netizens, something far scarier happened a few days ago.

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After the tears have dried, where is shamed politician Ryutaro Nonomura now?

You may not remember the name Ryutaro Nonomura but you’ll almost definitely recall the press conference he gave last July, which was later dubbed the “crying conference” here in Japan. The incident, which saw the then provincial politician weeping, cupping his ear cartoonishly, and wailing like a man possessed as he attempted to explain what he’d done with a significant amount of government funds turned him into a pop-culture iconporn parody and all, and ensured that he would go down as one of the most famous figures of 2014, for all the wrong reasons.

So now about half a year later, what has become of the disgraced assemblyman?

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LDP deems gay rights legislation ‘unnecessary’ according to multi-party survey

A survey conducted by a Japanese LGBT rights organization has been extremely revealing about the main political parties’ attitudes towards sexual minorities, and is something to think about for voters heading to the polls this weekend.

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NHK’s US election banner has netizens wondering if it’s the new Street Fighter

Last week’s US midterm elections drew the attention of the whole world, including Japan. NHK covered the whole spectacle in detail, but the usually serious broadcaster went with a bizarrely cartoonish, over-dramatic banner that showed America’s most senior politicians looking like characters in a beat-’em-up game a la Street Fighter.

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North Korean official put to death after twisting song lyrics during karaoke session

Oh, North Korea. Whether you’re hanging out with American “diplomats” or testing your rockets by firing them over your neighbors’ airspace, you never cease to amaze us with your incredible antics.

While Korea’s grumpy northern half can do very little when the rest of the world criticizes its behavior, “justice” will be swift for those who support dissenting opinions within the country. But in order to mask the removal of high-ranking North Korean officers as something other than Kim Jong Un flexing his supreme leader powers, the North Korean media has recently released “reasons” that could only be acceptable there.

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Election time or erection time? Taiwanese political ad features sexy bicyclist, and that’s about it

Local elections are coming up soon in Taiwan, and one of the positions being contested is Magistrate of Hsinchu County. With more than 500,000 constituents, the title comes with a pretty hefty amount of clout, and challenger Cheng Yung-chin, who occupied the office during the early 2000s, is hoping to reclaim the seat.

So to help boost his campaign, the politician has released a video to show voters the kinds of things he values: tranquility, nature, and shapely, bouncing breasts.

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Chinese city questions $32,000 budget for cops getting three haircuts a month

How many times a month does a police officer need to get their hair cut? That is the debate going on in the southern Chinese city of Shenzen after authorities found out that local cops there had budgeted nearly two million RMB (US$32,000) over a two-year period to have each of its more than 2,000 police officers have three haircuts a month.

While city authorities are questioning the necessity of the cops’ excessive visits to the barber, local citizens are outraged and are demanding a more “reasonable” haircut budget from their police force.

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Miyazaki speaks out about his political views and Japanese politics

The Asia-Pacific Journal‘s Asato Ikeda recently transcribed an illuminating interview with famed director Hayao Miyazaki originally printed in Studio Ghibli‘s monthly Neppu magazine.

In it, Miyazaki delves deep into his life, talking about his childhood thoughts on war, his feelings on Japan and its warpolicies,his father, current politics, and the Abe administration.

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