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NHK’s U.S. election banner amuses Internet users

31 Comments
By Cara Clegg

Last week’s U.S. midterm elections drew the attention of the whole world, including Japan. NHK covered the whole spectacle in detail, but the usually serious broadcaster went with a bizarrely cartoonish, over-dramatic banner that showed America’s most senior politicians looking like characters in a beat-‘em-up game a la Street Fighter.

Political engagement in Japan is startling low for an advanced democratic nation, but Japanese netizens still had a thing or two to say about NHK’s banner:

“I’d go vote if they did this for Japan too.” “American elections look fun.” “Looks like something from Marvel Comics.” “NHK are putting more effort into this than for Japan’s double elections.” “The Democrats: Hillary’s there but her husband Bill Clinton isn’t lol” “Unlike Japan, America hypes up their elections. It’s stupid ‘cos even though Japanese people don’t have any interest in politics there are loads of people who talk like they know about it. Japanese people should be more active in politics!” “I don’t know any of their names except for President Obama and Hillary.” “I don’t know the names of any of the Republicans. Who are these people?” “Looks like a movie poster.” “I want to see one where Obama’s completely beaten up by the election results lol” “And Obama was so popular when he became president…” “USA! USA!” “It’s kinda like all these white gangsters have shown up and are beating up Obama and then the camera’ll move to a shot of the white house and the logo ‘STREET FIGHTER II’ will come up.”

And it’s not the first time they’ve gone for this style either. Below is the one from the 2012 presidential election. While it doesn’t include the whole cast there, it’s made even more dramatic by giving the two men lightning wielding power.”

Sources: HamuSoku, Twitter

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31 Comments
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I have to say it: If the US elections are cartoonish, how do you describe Japanese elections?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

"Political engagement in Japan is startling low for an advanced democratic nation"

That's why we have the Japanese leaders we have.

6 ( +8 / -3 )

On the democrats side --

I don't think that Hillary and Bill are pictured on the banner as the article suggests. I actually think it is Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Senator from Massachusetts, and Chris Van Hollen, the power democratic congressman from Maryland. Both are extremely notable figures in the Politico world.

To be sure I guess you have to ask the artist - But Warren and Van Hollen, makes more sense.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have to say it: If the US elections are cartoonish, how do you describe Japanese elections?

Annoying?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I have to say it: If the US elections are cartoonish, how do you describe Japanese elections?

While I agree in principle, Japanese elections do have one major advantage - they are short!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Last week’s U.S. midterm elections drew the attention of the whole world

Bit of an exaggeration, isn't it, JT?

"The whole world?"

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Japan does for some reason seem to love its depictions of irate and unreasonable foreigners. The Democrat pictured above Elizabeth Warren even appears to be snarling, like a rabid canine. It seems doubtful that they would make a similar 'infographic' showing squabbling Japanese lower house politicians.

Anyway, the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this was the Hague Convention brochure recently released by the foreign affairs ministry showing livid, gesticulating foreign dads.

2 ( +5 / -4 )

Hahaha yes those rowdy Americans...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Some of the newly elected republicans are certainly worthy of cartoonish images. All of them claim that by not being scientists they can safely deny climate change. That is like saying that since I am not a physics professor I can safely say that gravity does not exist.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Perhaps nhk should use cartoons frm US media rather than making their own. And making their own cartoons about Jpn's politics for outside media to use or comment on.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

but the usually serious broadcaster went with a bizarrely cartoonish, over-dramatic banner that showed America’s most senior politicians looking like characters in a beat-‘em-up game a la Street Fighter.

Thanks, NHK, but we can dumb down our elections just fine on our own -- don't need you help.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Two rivals fighting for power. I like it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

' That is like saying that since I am not a physics professor I can safely say that gravity does not exist.'

Gravity? Over a quarter of the US population thinks the sun revolves around the earth and even more think the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Of course the Republicans can sell the idea that climate change is a myth. One comment in the article said: "I don’t know the names of any of the Republicans. Who are these people?”. A few speech bubbles from the Republicans in the cartoon showing what they actually do say will help introduce them to a wider audience and explain how the likes of Palin can be taken seriously by a sizable number of US people.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Amazing poster... it fully captures the amount of mudslinging and political grandstanding that goes on every day. This poster truly moves me!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I am looking forward to street fighter politicians!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The really wierd thing is that it looks to have put Harry Reid with the republicans.

My best guess at them - On the Democrat side, Forefront is Hillary Clinton, with VP Joe Biden just above her. The blonde lady behind Hillary I suppose could be Elizabeth Warren if you squint, or perhaps Mary Landrieu. The guy on the bottom left kinda looks like Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and the guy above him I suppose could be Al Franken (D - MN).

On the right hand side (Republicans), John Boehner is obviously front and center, but I'm a bit confused as Harry Reid (D-NV) appears to be behind him? The chin is too prominent for it to be Mitch McConnell, the hair is too thin to be Ron Paul, and the skin is to saggy/emaciated for it to be John McCain. Above-middle sort of resembles tea-party upstart Ted Cruz (R-TX), and left of him is actually a fair representation of Mitt Romney. The only Republican who I can think of who even remotely resembles the guy in the uppermostright is Jim Inhofe (R-OK) but it's not quite right...

Or maybe they just wanted to draw a bunch of white people, and just made 2 or 3 look like someone they'd heard of.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't get why all the politicians are snarling and spoiling for a fight EXCEPT POTUS. It is as if he is some impartial character surrounded by all this drama made by other people. Every Japanese that I have met supports POTUS but doesn't know any of his policies (except for maybe TPP).

As for climate change, I think that the real victim is science. If the Republicans are guilty of denying science, the Democrats are guilty of politicizing it. Even if man-caused climate change is a reality, you don't say "a majority of scientists..." You think science works by a majority vote?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Perhaps because this was not a presidential election?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

//street fighter politicians!

(Douglas Adams) There's a planet where people vote for lizards, because if they don't vote, the wrong lizard might get in. (/Douglas Adams)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well Elizabeth Warren wasn't running either, but there she is!

@Morrison: Nice!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Instead of having an election let them fight it out Street Fighter style. Now that would be a show I would watch.

Let the one who kicks the most butt win!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, I can hear the theme music from jaws in the background.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Nihon Shawn

You think science works by a majority vote?

The concept of consensus is so foreign that "majority vote" is the best way to describe it to the mouth breathers. The consensus does exist, so it is not politicization just to ask that something be done about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This was all over the BBC and I thought... why? What does this have to do with me?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thunderbird2,

I felt the same way. I'd go further and ask, "What does it have to do with anybody?"

It's just exchanging one face for another. These guys don't even write their own speeches!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just a political cartoon type poster. Not offended at all. J-WAVE radio had some US Election Eikaiwa lesson the other night like all listeners need to be able to talk about the Senate and the House of Representatives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I tweeted this picture and got like 1500 retweets. Thanks, NHK!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Over a quarter of the US population thinks the sun revolves around the earth

And of course you can cite a source for this "fact". Oh, wait... you're talking about the children, not the voters.

This was all over the BBC and I thought... why? What does this have to do with me?

I felt the same way. I'd go further and ask, "What does it have to do with anybody?"

With the Republicans in the majority of both the House and Senate, you can look forward to more saber-rattling by the U.S. and the resulting fallout on all of the U.S. allies. Bertie, if China keeps up with the belligerent activities it has been doing lately, stand by for an INCREASE in troops in Okinawa once the new Congress settles-in. So yeah, the Republicans winning the majority in both Houses DOES have to do with you - and not in a good way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah, like NHK is ever ALLOWED to do this for Japan's fake democratic elections...in your dreams.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The translation is Nov 4th, Court handed down Judgement

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Haha that picture is brilliant and accurate. Kudos NHK, kudos. You could pretty much put any politician from any country in there, and it would be the same. Politicians are all talk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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