Dissatisfaction with Japan’s evergreen ruling party the LDP has been swelling recently with regards to the general handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and insistence on holding the Olympic Games. This has been creating small cracks in the powerful political party and thus opportunities for Japan’s more chaotic politicians.
There’s certainly no shortage of them, from Super Crazy Kun to Yusuke “Joker” Kawaii, but anytime you see one of these fringe candidates emerge, you’ll likely see Takashi Tachibana nearby.
▼ Here we see Tachibana kickboxing noted eccentric candidate Teruki Goto.
As the leader of the Protect the Nation from NHK Party, Tachibana has been a trailblazer for unorthodox political campaigns. His party was formed with the agenda to abolish the heavy-handed door-to-door fee collection system of Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK. Tachibana is also a prolific YouTuber, giving video lectures on NHK fees and how to avoid paying them if you don’t want to.
Throughout the 2010s his popularity grew and in 2019 he was elected to a seat in the Diet, elevating his party to a new level of legitimacy. This win was no doubt fueled by Tachibana’s Car-Sex-Adultery speech, which was given shortly before his win and may go down as his Gettysburg Address.
Tachibana has since given up his seat and pursued other political ambitions, but mainly seems to be acting as an adviser to other unconventional candidates. And with this expansion of interests, Tachibana has also decided to change the name of his party from the Protect the Nation from NHK Party to the Protect the Nation from Old Parties Party.
He explains that the party’s essential goal remains the same, but he has determined that the way to truly end NHK’s fee-collecting ways is to attack the source, which he says is the ruling LDP party.
In addition, this new name gives the party the freedom to go beyond their single-minded anti-NHK agenda and ride the current wave of disapproval with the LDP at the same time. On the other hand, some people online wonder if the new name came out of Tachibana’s recent court loss against the broadcaster in which he owes them about 40 bucks, pending appeals.
“He couldn’t protect us from NHK, so how is he going to protect us from huge political parties?”
“He never won against NHK, not even once.”
“Fine, then I will launch the Protect the People from the Protect the People from Old Parties Party Party.”
“He may be a joke, but the fact that his party got 980,000 votes in 2019 says a lot.”
“I’m surprised at how easy it is to change a party’s name.”
“The funniest part is that I saw this reported on NHK.”
“So the abbreviation of this new party will be ‘Old Party’ then?”
“YouTuber Party would be the best choice.”
“Tachibana can’t keep getting attention just by changing his party name.”
A number of comments also expressed exhaustion over the repeated changes that Tachibana’s party has undergone over the years. For the record, here are the past names used by this party, prior to becoming the Protect the Nation from Old Parties Party:
The Refusal to Pay NHK Reception Fee Party
The Protect the Nation from NHK Party (N-Koku)
Protect the Citizens from NHK Party
The Party to Teach How to Not Pay the NHK Reception Fee
That doesn’t seem like a lot, but in between each official name change, Tachibana floats even more name changes and spin-off parties to the media such as the Golf Party and The Party to Crush NHK and Judge Hiroshi Oshima! On a case-by-case basis, some ideas seemed to have been shot down by election officials, while others just kind of faded into obscurity as Tachibana’s mind shifted to other things.
But perhaps most telling was last month when he suggested the creation of the Nothing Especially Party in the following YouTube video.
In the video, Tachibana shows how support for the LDP has fallen to 35.6 percent. While that still eclipses the major opposition parties, at the very end of the list is the “nothing especially” column which is the sum of all other parties. That particular field displays at a whopping 40.1 percent.
If all these parties were to form a coalition, then they could conceivably overtake the LDP in a national election. However, this would involve a complex negotiation of vastly different ideologies to merge the likes of the Pachinko Party, Pro-Wrestling Party, Bald Party, Free Tuition Party, School Refusal Party, Children Party, Love Smoking Party, and 16 other groups including the Protect the Nation from Old Parties Party.
This coalition would be called “nothing especially” based both on their designation on the polls and nebulous thinking they would posses as a united bloc. It’s a crazy idea, but “crazy” is what Tachibana knows best, and if support for LDP continues to bleed during and after the Olympics, he and his ball of confusion may be able to seriously shake things up on a national level.
Sources: NHK, Hachima Kiko, Tokyo Sports
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