Imagine you're a voter in Saitama's Toda City last January. An election is being held to select councilors to the city assembly. You scan the list of candidates' names and your eyes come to a screeching halt at the name "Super Crazy-kun." Will electing such an obvious eccentric bring prosperity to this bed town of 140,000 on Tokyo's northern periphery?
Okay, the fact is, in Japan some people in show business do wind up in politics. One figure of note was Hideo Higashikokubaru -- known on the small screen as "Sono-mama Higashi" -- who successfully ran for governor of Miyazaki Prefecture. After serving for four years he was elected to the House of Representatives of the National Diet. He also finished second after Shintaro Ishihara in the 2011 election for governor of Tokyo.
But Higashikokubaru ran on his actual surname, not his stage name.
That cannot be said for Super Crazy-kun, a 35-year-old performer whose real name is Makoto Nishimoto. And who coincidentally also hails from Miyazaki Prefecture.
Shukan Jitsuwa (May 6-13) reports that Toda's newly elected councilor may be out of a job. On April 9, the assembly voted to disqualify him on the grounds that he did not fulfill requirements for residence in Toda City.
Not willing to go without a fight, Super Crazy-kun appealed to the election secretariat to having the ruling nullified. He also said if the city assembly ruled against him, he would appeal to the Tokyo High Court.
"And if I lose there, I'll fight it all the way to the Supreme Court," he threatened.
According to the election bylaws, Toda's legislators are required to have resided in the city for at least three months. Upon investigation, Super Crazy-kun's bona fides did not appear to meet the criteria.
"The contract for the apartment where he claimed residence from last September was not in his own name," explained the city's elections secretariat. "The electric and other utility bills were all in another person's name, and his wife and children still reside at their former address in Tokyo."
In addition, it became known that the person in question has a criminal record as a juvenile.
Super Crazy-kun had previously run against Yuriko Koike for governor of Tokyo in 2020, giving his political affiliation as "party head" of the Super Crazy-kun Party. He garnered few votes. Undeterred by the rejection, he then ran for the Toda City assembly.
Super Crazy-kun hails from Miyazaki Prefecture where his father is reputed to belong to a local yakuza gang. Apparently the apple does not fall far from the tree. While young, Nishimoto ran with bad company. According to his own Instagram posts, over a period of five years he had been in and out of juvenile reformatories and various other penal institutions.
Coming to Tokyo in his 20s, he worked at a night club at Ginza, but his effort to operate his own shop failed. He then shifted to the music industry, debuting as a vocalist. During his run for Tokyo' governorship, he even released a campaign song, titled "Yuriko, or Me?"
To Nishimoto's credit, he has made no effort to mask his background, telling Toda's voters the most advanced level of his education was "reform school," and that he sports "a full body tattoo." During the campaign -- in which he pledged to rectify inequalities in education, promote barrier free facilities in the city and expand subsidies to small- and medium-sized businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic -- he attracted the public's attention with his dyed-blonde hair and flamboyant duds modeled after Kamikaze bikers.
If Toda's assembly succeeds in unseating him, Nishimoto is already planning his next moves. This coming July, he is pondering a run for a seat in the Tokyo Metropolitan assembly. And failing that, there's always the Toda mayoral election, scheduled for March 2022.
It looks like Japan's voters have yet to hear the last of this ambitious politician.© Japan Today