Too much verbal jousting and 'nantonaku' from Aso, say critics


Taro Aso has been prime minister for a month and a half now. Recent interviews carried out by reporters assigned to the PM led them to say afterwards that while on the one hand, Aso can speak candidly and in familiar terms, he becomes snappy when asked tougher questions and answers with an air of superiority, and the interviews degenerate into a one-man show. Some are concerned that if he does this too much that it could leave an unfavorable impression with the public.

Asked in late October if his frequenting of expensive hotel bars made him out of touch with the common man, he lost his cool. “Are you fine with disturbing business? I’m asking you. Answer me,” he fired back, referring to the large press corps in tow.

In late September, when asked about his keynote address at the opening session of the Diet, where in an unusual move, he asked questions to the opposition, he said “Didn’t Koizumi do something similar in his third policy speech? You people clearly haven’t studied up on these kinds of matters.” In relation to another question, he answered “It’s wrong for people to write about management and economics when they don’t understand them.”

On the recent slide in stock prices, he said, “Most conversations with people fixated with the stock market tend to be negative.” Asked about when he would dissolve the lower house, he told the reporter, “I bet your boss told you to make all your questions about that.”

Some in the LDP are worried about a decline in his image and veterans have warned him about the impact that poor press relations can have.

Aso also has a habit of uttering "nantonaku," a vague term which means somehow, kind of, in some way, for some reason. Toshihide Masukawa, Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University and one of the 2008 Nobel Prize Winners for Physics, had a phone conversation with the PM on Oct 7, in which Aso mumbled the expression four times in once sentence when he spoke about study, physics and the importance of having dreams, or something like that.

Renowned manga artist Kenji Hirogane spoke with Aso on Oct 26, and remarked “He really says that a lot, doesn’t he.”

Aso can’t drop the habit despite being advised not to use the vague term and being told it doesn’t look good for a guy known to talk straight.

Teruji Higashi, a professor at Ritsumeikan University and author of a book published in 2006 which examined the linguistic ability of past prime ministers, issued some harsh criticism when he said: “His whole style is built on the premise that he is above the person he is talking to, and he rarely shows empathy or a sense of camaraderie. As for his overuse of 'nantonaku,' that shows that his vocabulary is lacking and he can’t express himself well.”

Aso also recently had to play down his misreading of the kanji characters for some not uncommon words.

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Blah, blah, blah, nantonaku...complaining is for the lame. If the Japanese public is fed up with its leaders, then start taking some action!! Aso has every reason to feel above the commoners. The J-public will continue to kowtow until the cows come home until someone stands up to the establishment. Aso and his cronies have no reason to think otherwise.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aso is KY- Kanji Yomenai!(can't read Kanji's in his 60s)!

Learn your language until you die! what a shame...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And yet another leader goes down in flames....

Here's a quick thought: what if Japan started electing actual leaders, and that those so-called 'leaders' were not just old boys who grew up with silver spoons in their mouths and tales of grandpa's WWII 'bravery' in other Asian nations?

Maybe if the chose an actual leader there wouldn't be a less than 30% approval rate within a month, and a resignation within a year. As for Aso in particular, people were warned about his personality WELL before he was chosen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

public. Step up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Asked in late October if his frequenting of expensive hotel bars made him out of touch with the common man, he lost his cool."

This explains the photo op of PM Aso drinking with the students in the pub the other day.. A typical politician's maneuver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cracks are beginning to form in the hull of the Good Ship Aso. When the press turns against politicians here it gets interesting. Wonder when the rats will begin to jump of? This could be a slow sink though, at least until the Lower House is dissolved and an election called.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looks like Japan has its George Bush...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope the Japanese people shock the world and vote this corrupt establishment out so that an equally corrupt establishment can replace it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan really have a severe problem in Management skills...regardless at what level...and the J people really have a severe problem about malicious gossips, regardless of......:)..this is their culture. It won't change not even in a million years...i won't waste my time talking about this topic...have a nice weekend everyone!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sumamary: bad attitude, what they call in Japanese 'hin no nai...'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks seesaw the same to you..

well i think is about the point of view of MR.Aso..if you are rich or come from a rich family you will act and talk like this in some how politic change people´s mind...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well I think his days are numbered. The life expectancy of a Japanese PM can be from a few weeks to a year or more. Koizumi was the best. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

he actually misread hinpan 頻繁 which is a pretty common word (just as it means frequent) and read it hinzatsu or smth... way to go PM san, at least he got the first one right

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Granted, he might not have the following in his country as the President-elect has in mine, but Aso should do just fine for his tenure of 11 or so months.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before Aso became PM he appeared on NHK and had to write something on a card. What he wrote was practically illegible. It seems he also has trouble reading. So now we have an illiterate PM who mistakenly thinks he is better than everyone else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have no ideas why Aso is alwasys so confident as if he can do everything he can to change Japan better. We cannot see how he is going to and what he is going to. No more stupid comments, just carry something out!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tatanka, Japan ALWAYS has a George Bush (except Koizumi). Mori, Abe, Aso...which joker is next?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The cream rises to the top, but it always seems unpalatable in this nation. Still the people get what they deserve. If they don't want to demand a change in the way their representatives are elected and don't want to require the accountability of elected and unelected officials, then they will get the likes of Koizumi, Aso, Mori, Ishikawa...

Joining the social contract is necessary, but the continual attack on our individual sovereignty and control over choices and actions that affect our daily lives should be a call for greater political activism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So does Aso actually work? Because most of the news about him, involves him saying stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites