The case of what was arguably Japan’s weirdest political scandal finally comes to a close.
Following his tear-drenched press conference and constant ear cupping, disgraced assemblyman Ryutaro Nonomura finally gets his day in court—and shocks the public yet again with a new trademark move.
While adults had a hard time containing their laughter upon seeing a Japanese politician sobbing, a child recently provided a more endearing reaction to his tears.
Until about a week ago, Ryutaro Nonomura was a relatively unknown prefectural assemblyman from Hyogo in Japan’s Kansai region. Name recognition is extremely important for politicians in Japan, where ballots often require voters to write in the name of the candidate they’re voting for, so under normal circumstances the fact that the whole country now knows who Nonomura is would be a major boon for his political career.
Unfortunately, “manically crying while responding to allegations of misuse of government funds” is anything but normal, but that’s exactly what has caused Nonomura’s sudden rise to fame. Aside from making citizens shake their heads at the conduct of public officials, Nonomura’s meltdown has caused people to both laugh and cringe.
And now, it’s ready to make them dance.
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.
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.
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.