Most of you all know that Fukuda resigned as Prime Minister (PM) of Japan. In response to why I didn’t blog about his resignation, the short answer is: “I’m waiting for the rest of the story!” In the meantime, I am following the buzz about Taro Aso.
The following article was forwarded by Tenrou Kibagami. Kibagami has been following the otaku culture’s news regarding Aso’s candidacy for PM. For those unfamiliar with the term, “otaku” are basically fanboys. While there can be different types of otaku, the term is commonly associated with the anime and manga (cartoons/comics) crowd. Aso is an admitted manga fan, having said to read about 10 to 20 manga magazines a week. His hobby may pay off for collectors!
There’s a bunch of stories out there, but here’s one of the more recent ones. Stock prices of several Japanese anime and manga companies have climbed significantly with the prospects that conservative politician and self-proclaimed manga fan Taro Aso may again vie for Japan’s top post after the current Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced his planned resignation. By the 3:00 p.m. closing time on Tuesday in Tokyo, shares of Broccoli Co. were up 20.69%, to 70 yen (about US$0.65). At one point during the day, it was up 40% to 88 yen (US$0.81). Anime production company We’ve, Inc. also saw an increase, as its stocks went up 6.1% to 7,950 yen (about US$73.60), as did the Mandarake chain of used anime and manga goods (up to its maximum daily limit of 16.5% at 353,000 yen or US$3,2670) and the anime and game company GDH K.K. (up to its maximum daily limit of 13% at 8,800 yen or US$81.50). However, analysts cautioned that these increases are related to overall market conditions, and should not be taken as a sign of any major change in the Japanese content industry should Aso be selected for the post.
The last time Aso contended for prime minister last September, share prices of a range of anime studios and related firms, including Production I.G., GDH, Bandai Visual, We’ve, Mandrake, and Broccoli, rose. In fact, on September 12, 2007, Broccoli’s stocks went up 71%, closing at 151 yen (US$1.34).
Though he is arguably the most prominent, Aso is not the only Japanese politician linked to otaku culture. The cover of the premiere issue of the Otaku Elite magazine featured Yukio Hatoyama of the opposition social liberal party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), in 2005. The most recent public clash between Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Aso and DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama occurred in July when Aso responded to a comment about LDP’s shifting fortunes by upper house speaker Satsuki Eda (DPJ) by saying, “If you look at history, you will see that as a result of the people moving away from the party of government, regimes like the Nazis have come into power.” Hatoyama demanded an apology which Aso has not given. Aso did say, “I don’t want to think that the speaker disclosed [my comment] on purpose, and I don’t have any intention of comparing the Democrats to the Nazis.” An anonymous Aso staffer added, “He was saying that the fact that debate has not been progressing in parliament is a serious problem and that the Nazi regime arose from a similar situation.”
Thank you to dormcat for linking to past coverage on Yukio Hatoyama.