It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good Japanese mystery to investigate. A couple weeks ago, workers began installing long white boards all over town with squares numbered 1-50. A large date—April 26—appeared at one end with a whole lot of indecipherable Japanese surrounding it.
A few days later, nearly all of the boxes were plastered with election posters from all of Japan’s major political parties. It’s time to elect our local mayors (kuchō/区長) and assembly representatives (kugikai/区議会)! I say “our,” but as foreign citizens, we don’t get a vote. At least we have plausible deniability if it all goes south… “Not my kuchō!”
In addition to the posters, candidates ride around in vans with loudspeakers, sharing their message with the people. They wear white gloves as they wave out the window, apparently a symbol of honesty.
The posters themselves were pretty standard fare, although I did notice a couple of trends. First off, several candidates seemed to be taking the theme of “fighting for you” literally. I counted six posters with candidates raising clinched fists, ready to punch the opposition right in the face. Some of my favorites…
The next candidate had comic-style posters of him fighting for the people of Kawagoe on his website during the election. Kinda cool.
The other prominent theme is the use of cartoonish representations of the candidates. It says “Look, I’m fun!” Some of the best…