Political Noodlings

Oh, you’ll miss him when he’s gone! It was the beleaguered Taro Aso, back when he was Foreign Minister, who stood up to the French presidential candidate Segolene Royal when she suggested that manga was responsible for Japan’s social ills. During the same period, it was Aso who pushed for “contents” (films, games, anime, manga) to be acknowledged as one of Japan’s most virulent exports. When he became Prime Minister, he wooed the otaku vote by proclaiming his love for manga. It was Aso who supported the controversial National Media Arts Center, lauded by some industry figures as a saviour of anime, although many others (myself included) regard it as a likely disaster: a “national manga café.” And, behind the scenes, I am sure that his influence must be at least partly responsible for the new animated political adverts on Japanese telly ahead of the national election.
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