politics

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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Gundam creator isn’t making his new series for you, doesn’t care if you don’t like it

Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino always seems to be seething at someone. Recently, he had harsh words for the anime voice acting industry, and now he’s gnawing even further up the arm that’s connected to the hand that feeds him by setting his sights on a new target: all adult Gundam fans.

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Geopolitical dictionary: Japanese net users turn countries into verbs

You know how in English you can take pretty much any noun and make it a verbderivation for the cunning linguists out thereby adding to to the front? For example, how the search engine Google has become to google, as in, “Why the hell are you asking me? Go google it, you twit!”

Well, you can do the same thing in Japanese by adding -ru or a handful of other suffixes to the end of a word, and some Japanese net users recently had some fun with this by turning country names into some very non-PC verbs.

Have a look at our geopolitical dictionary and see how your country fared.

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Guitarist perfectly recreates disgraced Japanese politician’s uncontrollable sobbing【Video】

Even we can’t believe how much news and Twittersphere coverage Ryutaro Nonomura has been receiving. The disgraced politician who attempted to claim over 3 million yen (around US$30,000) in travel expenses without providing any supporting evidence has been seen around the world sobbing violently at a press conference thanks to numerous YouTube videos. Even a local station in California showed a short clip of the unprecedented meltdown during the evening news just yesterday.

Just like any other video of an unexpected reaction, this one has sparked a virtual onslaught of meme after meme showing the Hyogo Prefectural Assemblyman with the likes of Hulk Hogan and popular girl group Perfume. But one parody in particular caught our attention for how difficult it was to pull off. Prepare to cringe and be impressed while watching the following video of a perfectly timed, perfectly pitched recreation of Nonomura’s teary defense performed on an electric guitar.

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A star is born: Twitter users have a field day with Assemblyman Nonomura’s teary defense

We generally paint politicians as a strange mix of arrogance and charm that seems to allow them to navigate through a variety of scandals. Through double talk and an almost sociopathic ability to ignore facts, an elected official caught red-handed lying or worse can somehow convince the public that maybe we’re the ones who made a mistake.

And then there’s Ryutaro Nonomura who seems to have turned the politician’s playbook on its head with his move of crying and shouting non-sequiturs in the face of accusations regarding use of public money. It seems to be working though as Twitter users are far less concerned about misappropriation than they are about how to best turn him into a lolcat.

The following is a selection of tweets featuring the people’s take on the assemblyman that became an internet sensation through photo altering, music, and latte art.

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Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】

A Japanese politician who claimed over 3 million yen (around US$30,000) in travel expenses without providing any supporting evidence has defended his actions in a dramatic and emotional display. Speaking to reporters at the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly on Tuesday, Ryutaro Nonomura cried loudly as he insisted that he had genuinely made all the trips claimed for, and that the travel was for work purposes.

Nonomura faced criticism last week when it was revealed that he had claimed for 195 long-distance return tickets by rail during the financial year 2013-14. He did not provide any receipts for the journeys, or any evidence that he had been carrying out official activity. The transportation expenses claims included 106 visits to Kinosaki Onsen, a hot spring town 139km from his hometown.

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Artist Takashi Murakami immortalises heckled Tokyo assembleywoman in dot-art portraits

Sexism and discrimination have been rather hot topics here in Japan following an unpleasant incident at a Tokyo political assembly on June 18, during which female politician Ayaka Shiomura was taunted and mocked by assembleymen while giving a speech about pregnant women and working mothers.

In response, world-famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has taken the unusual step of creating and hanging a series of portraits of the politician in his Tokyo cafe.

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What was this Attack on Titan giant doing at a protest in Hong Kong?

We knew Attack on Titan was crazy popular with an incredible 36 million volumes in circulation and a huge fanbase that stretches from Japan to the English-speaking world and beyond, it’s also been translated for audiences in Korea and China (Taiwan). Next year things will reach new heights with a full length live-action film starring Haruma Miura in the leading role.

When we saw these photos apparently showing a Titan from the series taking part in a demo in Hong Kong, we just had to find out more. “The Red Giant” is a piece of protest art made by Hong Kong based artist Kacey Wong, and pictures from the demo have been doing the rounds on Japanese online message boards this week. At once among the crowd and separate from it, the looming bright red figure is a powerful symbol of what Wong sees as the threat posed to Hong Kong by mainland China’s rapid growth as an economic superpower.

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U.S. may demand compensation from Japan for having the nerve to snow on its planes

Few can forget the massive snow storm that swept over most of Japan’s main island of Honshu this February. Obscene amounts of snow accumulated everywhere, throwing cities into panic, shutting down Disneyland for the first time in years, and even completely destroying U.S. warplanes like some kind of snow-based Godzilla villain.

But now the U.S. is wading into some touchy political territory, announcing that it’s currently investigating whether or not to demand compensation from Japan to pay for the planes because, come on, obviously that’s Japanese snow.

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China fostering spy rings at Australian universities to monitor exchange students

There are almost 100,000 mainland Chinese students studying at Australian universities, where they are no doubt exposed to ideas that might be censored at home. This fact has not gone unnoticed by Chinese intelligence professionals, some of whom have admitted to a reporter for the respected Sydney Morning Herald that they recruit networks of students to monitor the Chinese community.

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America admits it has no idea what Kim Jong-un is doing

Almost all of the conventional wisdom from American intelligence agencies about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been wrong, Peter Sanger of The New York Times reports.

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Japanese constitution nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has an unprecedented nomination: the Ninth Article of the Japanese constitution. The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war or to maintain a military. The group advocating the nomination, the “Constitution’s Ninth Article for the Nobel Peace Prize,” is based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Housewife Naomi Takusu (37) came up with the idea. She started an online petition last May and garnered 1,500 signatures in just five days. She contacted the Nobel Committee, from whose response she learned that candidates can only be nominated through certain channels and must be individuals or groups. She changed her strategy and tried again for 2014.

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North Korean media sinks even lower, calls South Korean leader a “repulsive wench”

Barely a week after branding her a “blabbering peasant woman,” North Korea has labelled South Korean leader Park Geun-hye a “repulsive wench” via its state-run media. Not only that, but the same quoted source also alluded to the fact that the president has no children of her own, and said that she “makes a mockery of sacred motherhood.”

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Prominent political figures like you’ve never seen them before… FABULOUS!

Saint Hoax is a Middle Eastern artist who recently set up a website which combines the kitsch of pop art with cynical political commentary. In their post, Saint Hoax muses on the similarities between drag queens and world figureheads. Thinking that they share unique fashions and stand-out personalities, the only real difference between a drag queen and a king boils down to flashier colors and a whole lot of money.

So Saint Hoax took nine political and religious figures and applied some sequins and foundation – a lot of foundation – to make them queen for a day.  They certainly work – sashay, shantay – but if you happen to have strong political or religious leanings in one direction or another, you’ll probably find yourself offended by these images.

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Japan ratifies child abduction treaty, but some parents may still be left behind

This week, Japan became the 91st signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides protection for children under 16 from being taken from their country of residence by one parent against the wishes of the other. However, the convention does not work retroactively, so parents whose children have already been taken are urging the Japanese government to stand by provisions of the treaty in their cases as well.

A group of left-behind parents organized a march in Washington, D.C., on Monday to hand-deliver 28 applications for assistance reuniting with their children to the U.S. Department of State and to submit a petition for the return of abducted children to the Japanese embassy.

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Wait, did North Korea really just call South Korea’s president a “blabbering peasant woman”?

Yes. Yes, it did.

Relations between North and South Korea took a turn for the childish today as a spokesman for the notorious hermit nation labelled South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye a “peasant” and remarked that she ought to stop “blabbering” if she ever wants to see relations between the two countries improve.

Me, and indeed, ow.

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Crimean attorney general responds to the Internet’s attempts to turn her into an anime character

Japan’s infatuation with Natalia Poklonskaya, Crimea’s newly appointed and unusually photogenic attorney general, is still going strong. In the week since we first reported on it, fan art based on Eastern Europe’s comeliest stateswoman has continued to proliferate.

But how do Poklonskaya, and for that matter her anime-loving daughter, feel about the unique sort of attention she’s been getting?

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Admirers express their love for Crimean attorney general in the purest way they can: cute fan art

So there seems to be just a teeny bit of political turmoil in Eastern Europe these days, what with almost every voter in formerly-Soviet Crimea saying they’re happy to cut ties with Ukraine and have the region annexed by Russia. It’s a thorny opening act for the newly-appointed Crimean attorney general, but Natalia Poklonskaya can at least count on the moral support of thousands of Japanese men. Not because they necessarily agree with her political views, though, but because the 33-year-old Poklonskaya looks more like she came from Central Casting than the judicial branch of government.

Of course, where there’s love-struck Japanese men pondering the ideal forms of female beauty, anime artwork can’t be far behind, and there’s a growing batch of Poklonskaya fan art making the rounds on the Internet.

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