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Hashimoto's school for aspiring politicians starts with fervor

14 Comments

On March 24 in Osaka, there occurred a mass gathering that, to Shukan Shincho (April 5), was difficult at first glance to classify. The many young men in sober business suits made it look like a job fair. But there were older people too, men and women. Some sort of religious gathering?

Not at all. The occasion was the launch of Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s Ishin Seiji Juku (literally, Restoration Politics Institute) – a kind of political school for aspiring lawmakers cast in Hashimoto’s dynamic, politically conservative mold. The aim is to groom candidates for the next national election, which must be held by summer 2013 and may well be held sooner.

The 2000-plus aspirants who crowded the auditorium – about half of them from the Osaka-Hyogo area – are a measure of Hashimoto’s charismatic appeal – and also of a spreading despair over Japan’s political paralysis in the face of urgent crises ranging from a long-stagnant economy to radiation leakage still unstaunched more than a year after an earthquake and tsunami gutted the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

To his opponents Hashimoto is a dictator-in-the-making, a neo-Fascist. Some have likened him to Hitler. To his supporters, his essential qualities are energy, vision, no-nonsense clarity and determination – just what is needed, they say, to free Japan from its logjam. Comments elicited by Shukan Shincho at the Juku launch suggest the fervor animating those rallying to Hashimoto’s standard. For example:

“I want to change Japan,” said a 36-year-old company president. “My family’s a bit put out, but I’m all set to give up my job and become a lawmaker.”

“After the earthquake I really started to think about where Japan is going,” said a 28-year-old artist. “I’m seriously aiming to become a Diet member.”

A 31-year-old company employee waxed trenchant on the exclusiveness of the political class: “The word for government originally comes from the word for festival. Then somehow politics became the preserve of those from prestigious universities. Me, I’m a high school graduate. It’s not right that those of us who don’t come from the right schools are shut out of politics.”

“My company doesn’t know I’m here,” said a 32-year-old man. “It would be awkward if the TV cameras picked me up. That’s why I’m in the corner.”

Approaching a woman verging on elderly, Shukan Shincho is surprised to learn her occupation – she’s a snack bar “mama.” At 64, “I’m too old to become a lawmaker,” she said, “but I can be a staff worker, can’t I? I’ll work to support Hashimoto behind the scenes.”

It takes all kinds to make a political world. A jobless young man in his twenties said, “My goal is to become a lawmaker so I can earn some money.”

Hashimoto himself has said he will not be a candidate in the next national election, but his political group, the Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), is a swelling political force which aims, via the Juku, to field 300 candidates. For better or worse, this could represent a major shakeup of the national political landscape.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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this is scary.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Four legs good, two legs bad... Snowball and Napoleon would be proud.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As much as i hate this guy sometimes, we need someone like him to get it all together. Anything for discipline, I'm in!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

a finishing school for clueless nativists/populists to represent the interests of the corporatist secret society play makers cowering behind the scenes that are bankrolling and facilitating the rise of hashimoto and the "restorationists".

why settle for one front man when you can parade a whole herd before the cameras capturing the political procession.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"The 2000-plus aspirants who crowded the auditorium – about half of them from the Osaka-Hyogo area – are a measure of Hashimoto’s charismatic appeal – and also of a spreading despair over Japan’s political paralysis..."

So they just pay into the current system of ridiculous fees for juku schools, without getting any sort of qualifications, and that'll make the system better? Worse yet, these people are merely entering the 'school' because they think Hashimoto is 'handsome' or 'cool', and he'll probably only from now endorse those that have undergone 'Hashimoto training'.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

a fool is soon parted from his money.Japan needs a strong leader..no. Japan needs strong citizens who make every leader do what they should be doing, not creating a NOVA for future leeches.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Some sort of religious gathering? Not at all.

Oh, I believe the first guess was right on the nose. So, who's the teacher in this school and what are his/her credentials? What are the requirements for graduation (besides receipts of completed bank transactions)?

I doubt this is an actual accredited school. Darren is right - A fool and his money are soon parted.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Comments elicited by Shukan Shincho at the Juku launch suggest the fervor animating those rallying to Hashimoto’s standard."

If those comments are supposed to represent fervour, Japan is in more trouble than I thought.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hey, cannot be all bad. You get a free bottle of tea that sits in front of you unopened of course while your hands are super glued together for the duration of the event.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Hashimoto . . . essential qualities are energy, vision, no-nonsense clarity and determination " to achieve what ends?

The Tea Party in the US has similar claims but they are undoubtedly a divisive and secret organization who acknowledge no leaders but brought the country to near default only 10 months ago.

If Mr. Hashimoto has "determination", let the goals of that be expressed with "clarity" then let the voter decide. In America, the Tea Party went as far as shouting at public meetings to inject fear an helplessness into the political process. Maybe Hashimoto's students should be commended but first know their truthful goals and beware of the Trojan Horse politician.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A few things come to mind when reading this:

Restoration. That implies things are no good the way they are, right? So, instead of moving things FORWARD, evolving and bringing in new ideas, the plan is to get back to the tried and tested old Japan? Which period exactly? Scary, indeed.

The fixation of anonymity in Japan makes this group of people comical. If they want to be politicians - be prepared to be seen and heard. This should obviously be a driving force for any wannabe politician as no aspiring politicians will get any air time or support without being known. Yet, these suckers "sit in the corner" so that they won't be recognized by their employers?! Are you kidding me?

Probably no need to take this seriously as nothing (good or bad) will come out of it. Japan of today is content. Content with everything being fed them. From TV-shows like Super News to politicians telling the truth to standing in line for hours outside a newly opened clothes shop.

If not even a disaster like 2011's can wake these people up and demand change - what can?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"The sky is high and the emperor is far away" - the Chinese proverb suits my attitude towards national politics, free as I am in my wayward corner. Still, I hate the fact that my little prefecture has a massive, multi-building complex quite close to the massive city hall that in itself, really, has more than enough space to provide for administration for both. Hashimoto has said he wants to abolish the prefecture system; I'm all for that, for several reasons.

I've seen no reason to go Hitler on the guy. Real change in this country will not happen gradually: those in power will not allow it, and those challenging them will become one of them by the time they rise through the ranks. A good yank at the chain could not harm anything; it might instead lead to real, desirable change. More information regarding intentions would be good, as would a firmer ideology; but being against political strength just because it is strong? No.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Go Hashimoto go! The present political system is about to run Japan into the ground. I think that they need to get away from British/Northern European/Socialist welfare-state-ism. The welfare state, and civil servants work even less well here because the Japanese are more "economical" less idealistic.

There is a good book chapter by Jane Bachnik called "Do IT yourself," about Information Technology support services at Japanese universities. There is no idealism. There is no goal orientation. the members of the IT department do not have pride in the IT-skills. The support service department sees itself as home, range, space, place, location and ensures that this location is happy and thriving. But if some teacher comes in and asks for support, he is politely asked to go and find out how to help himself.

"Do not ask what the IT department can do for you. Ask what you can do for the IT department." This logo is not an invention. It is the real motto of the Tokyo university IT department.

This 'as long as we are meticulous, polite, keen, subservient, then everything will be okay" mentality is threatened. This goes for swimming pools, libraries, community centres, women's centres, sports centres and all the other pork/box centres that the government have been making for for the last 50 or so years. The people in them ensure that their centre is clean, happy, healthy, and meticulous but the same "civil servants" have a low level of interest in the ideal behind their existence, or the overall happiness of the people outside their frame of reference.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Go Hashimoto go! The present political system is about to run Japan into the ground. I think that they need to get away from British/Northern European/Socialist welfare-state-ism. The welfare state, and civil servants work even less well here because the Japanese are more "economical" less idealistic.

But Japan's welfare state is nowhere near as strong as the Northern European countries, so how can Japan 'get away' from something that it's not?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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