It's time again for Taro "Rozen" Aso to hit Akihabara again. He's campaigning.
For three years running Aso has been campaigning for Prime Minister of Japan and hitting up heavily otaku-filled areas as his main support system of voters.
Aso, himself, is of course an avid reader of manga, but he has also targeted the otaku of Japan to rally for him because of this well known "quirk" that most other Japanese governmental workers may not share, or at least publicly.
That aside, Aso has been known for his shrewed stances in politics and is infamous for his controvercial remarks about foreigners. Currently, he holds the position for Minister of Foreign Affairs even, and has even worked to initiate talks with China about the growth of their military force, despite publicly stating
his fears about China being, "a neighbour with one billion people equipped with nuclear bombs [that] has expanded its military outlays by double digits for 17 years in a row, and it is unclear as to what this is being used for."
A tough statement, even for a man with enough great soundbites to start a weekly Daily Show
Aso has campaigned three times in three years so far. First in a general election, again after former PM Abe resigned, and again after PM Fukuda announced he would be leaving office early this month. Maybe this will be his year.
I like that Aso can be controvercial though. This indicates to me that he is not just a robot among governmental workers. In a country where one is expected to avoid confrontations, especially when representing one's people, Abe repeatedly takes things head-on.
Couple this with his relation with the otaku culture and even his non-traditional faith of Roman Catholicism, you can see, he certainly is someone who is outside the norm.
Heh. This comment from one of those forementioned Akiba otaku in a recent Mainichi article is especially precious:
"I hope he can improve the image of otaku and have more people understand the subculture," said [Rei] Nekomi, a surgeon and psychiatrist who says he enjoys coming here to dress in female costumes when he is off-duty.
Go Aso! Go!
I'd actually like to see what an otaku PM can do. I wouldn't be surprised if he created a nationwide Manga Day, maybe developed (yet another in a line... Doraemon, Totoro, etc) ambassador for Japan in the form of a timeless anime character, or even forced exports of Anime to other countries as an international relations move. In fact, I not only wouldn't be surprised, I'd like it! He's done similar
in the past afterall.
Thanks to Kami for help with this post.