Local Campaigning

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Saturday began the campaign period for local elections throughout Japan. The Bunkyo-ku council elections will be held next Sunday. There are 34 seats and 45 people running according to the big poster-covered signboard down by the station.

Tod & I stopped to read all the campaign posters. They were interesting. Lots of raised fists (a symbolic "I'm trying hard" pose), many smiling faces, one guy shooting hoops and another in his karate gear. Most were vertical posters, but 5 or 6 renegades designed theirs in landscape orientation. Colors are similar to American campaign posters - strong shades of blue, yellow, red and green. One was orange. In addition to party logos, some candidates have their own personal logos, especially the 13 women running: a red tomato, a four leaf clover, a shrimp. Some candidates listed their ages: 30 years old, 25 years old. One claimed 'I have been working for my community since I was a baby."

Each and every one of the candidates seems to have a minivan fitted out with loudspeakers. They are driving around town announcing their candidates' name and asking people to vote. From where I sit, I can hear overlapping echoes of competing trucks and an occasional direct hit as one cruises up our street.

Just around the corner from us an incumbent candidate, Shiraishi Hideyuki, has taken over a derelict shop as his campaign headquarters. When I walked past at lunchtime, he was standing under his awning, looking youthfully political in a suit and a white sash with his name and campaign slogan hand lettered on it. He bowed politely to a crowd of older women huddled under umbrellas in the rain. He said something and they giggled like schoolgirls.

Shiraishi-san is a member of Shinsei Club, a political faction. Of our 34 current councilors, 9 are affiliated with Shinsei Club. I can't find out much of anything about it, except that it seems to be quite popular among city-level officials across the country.

I like the diversity of political views in our town. Bunkyo-ku currently has 6 Communist council members, 5 members of Japan's ruling party, the LDP, six Komei affiliates, three in Shimin, and two independents. You can take a peek at their pictures and profiles on the Bunkyo-ku website.

Since I can't vote, I'm going to grab my earplugs and try to get some work done. Good luck to everyone who is running.

1 Comment

noise polution is all I can gather. They have been bugging us for days. It is really annoying. If they were actually talking about policy I could possibly forgive them - a bit. But it is just spruking the candidate names. Very very very annoying.

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  • T: noise polution is all I can gather. They have been read more