Last time, I said that not all Japanese people approve of the popular culture, otaku culture in particular, that brings so much money (and foreign interest) into Japan each year. This doesn’t mean that all Japanese otaku are stay at home NEETs or Hikikomori. In fact, some of them are very powerful and influential.
Not photoshopped in any way, shape or form.
Take Taro Aso, who was Prime Minister five years ago when I first visited Japan, and is Vice-Prime Minister now under the re-elected Shinzo Abe. Otaku were especially unpopular in the late 80’s when Tsutomu Miyazaki, a horrific serial killer (don’t wiki him—seriously, don’t) was dubbed the Otaku Killer because he had a few anime DVDs under his bed or whatever. I mean, who doesn’t, serial killer or otherwise? But Aso, then deputy finance minister, was willing to go to bat for his people. In a public address he announced “I am an Akiba otaku,” which went a long way toward changing public opinion.
Sign in Akihabara. The big Japanese text reads "our Taro!"
Aso’s favorite series is reportedly Rozen Maiden. He has talked about the role popular culture can play in bringing people from different countries together.
What's Rozen Maiden about? I dunno, it looks like some girly-girl thing
His politics? Well, he’s kind of an old right-wing crank, and some picture make him look like one of the less charismatic Sith Lords. But on the plus side he’s one of only two Japanese Prime Minister to hail from Fukuoka prefecture, where we at J-Subculture do business!
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