ONE analogy used when politicians abandon a party that’s dissolving as quickly as a mudboat is that of rats leaving a sinking ship. True to the vapidity of some of its members, however, the Democratic Party of Japan’s dissolution is starting to resemble daytime soba opera.
At last count, nine DPJ MPs have left the party in the last three days. Here are some screenshots of a video broadcast on the national news when first-term member Hatsushika Akihiro of Tokyo went to the DPJ headquarters in the Diet building to turn in his resignation. In a scene that must have been staged, Tanaka Mieko, another first-term DPJ member, briefly (and slightly tearfully) tried to stop him. It was over in a few seconds.
The entertainment it provided isn’t over for the Japanese Net, however. They’re still passing the photos and video around. Here’s the sequence:
The caption at the top left says that it happened before 11:00 a.m. The one at the bottom identifies Mr. Hatsushika. The one at the top right quotes LDP chief Abe Shinzo as promising an election victory and notes that the DPJ has already lost its lower house majority
The third quotes Ms. Tanaka as saying, “I came to stop you. Don’t go.”
This quotes what seems to be a smiling Mr. Hatsushika replying, “I understand your feelings, but I’ve decided. Let me through.”
And now for the backstory (or at least the publicly known part of it.)
Mr. Hatsushika told the reporters why he was leaving:
The DPJ has clearly changed its policies from the time it assumed control of government. It’s become a different party.
Either the reporters were just doing their jobs, or they don’t do their jobs thoroughly to begin with, because they asked him a really dumb question: Will you be joining the Japan Restoration Party or Ishihara Shintaro’s Sunrise Party? He said no, and added:
I want to devote my energies to consolidating the strength of “liberal” political forces.
He used the English loan word for liberal. That means left-of-center nowadays in Japan too, but the extent of the leftward lean depends on the user. In Mr. Hatsushika’s case, that means being Pyeongyang’s pal in the Diet.
Yes, the Democratic Party of Japan certified this man in 2009. Yes, the Anglosphere media described the DPJ government as “center-left”. They really should have reversed the words and used some imaginative typography instead. It was “LEFT of center”.
One wonders what Hatsushika Akihiro expected of the Democratic Party when he ran in 2009.
The story gets better. Boy, does it get better.
Tanaka Mieko is another one of the DPJ MPs whose first term is likely to be their last for the forseeable future. The holder of a master’s degree in political science from Meiji University, she was recruited by Ozawa Ichiro to run against former LDP Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro in 2009, setting up a battle between the young Beauty and the old Beast. She lost by just 4,000 votes, but managed to slide into the Diet anyway as a PR representative for the Hokuriku bloc.
Ms. Tanaka held several jobs before turning to electoral politics. She was an aide to Kawamura Takashi when he was a DPJ Diet member. (He later quit the party, resigned his seat, won election as Nagoya mayor, and formed the Tax Cut Japan party that might still join Hashimoto Toru’s Japan Restoration Party.) Before that, she was a company employee and tour conductor.
And before that, she wrote a column in the magazine Bubka with the title, “Beautiful cosplay writer Arisu interviews sex workers: A real battle of beauties”. Explained an employee of the publishing company:
“She would interview women in the sex industry while she herself was outfitted in some kind of costume. It became something of a topic of conversation because no one knew why she had to dress up like that.”
One of the magazine’s editors said that Ms. Tanaka approached them about doing the articles. While the articles were well-written, he said, the series ended after 10 pieces when she couldn’t think of any more costumes to use. In the photos above, you can see she chose the elegant basic black costume with a string of pearls to barricade the door on her last day in the Diet.
And sometimes, she wore very little at all. She got a bare naked chest massage in the cult film Moju Tai Issunboshi (The Blind Beast vs. the Dwarf). You can tell it’s a cult film from the low budget, amateurish direction, and the even more amateurish acting.
Of course there’s a YouTube. Isn’t there always?
Some people criticize the new regional parties because they’re not impressed with the caliber of people they’ve recruited to run for the Diet.
Ha, ha, ha!