Fringe anti-NHK party rebrands as Politician Girls 48 Party featuring ex-idols

People bemoan the lack of women in Japanese politics but we suspect this is not the solution.

The NHK Party, a fringe people whose aim is to “protect” the Japanese population again the titular public broadcaster, has gone through its umpteenth name change, now becoming the Seijika Joshi 48 To, or the Politician Girls 48 Party.

No prizes for guessing, the name (abbreviated to SJJ49) is a cheeky reference to AKB48, and yes, the candidates are all female.

Note our neutral vocabulary — though the party itself has used joshi, or “girl,” meaning the wannabe lawmakers are very young woman (and apparently that’s the only thing we need to know about them).

japan nhk party sjj48 fringe politics all women

So far that seems to hold true: the candidates include former celebrities, actresses, hostesses, and so on.

And they are deliberately emphasized their cute charm, rather than dull and dry things like actual policies or ideologies. At a recent press conference, 30-year-old Ayaka Otsu was asked about tax and she giggled, saying she wanted to pass on that “difficult” question. Otsu is the newly appointed party leader.

japan nhk party sjj48 fringe politics all women ayaka otsu

It’s not usual for former models, idols, and actors to move into a career in politics, despite their apparent lack of qualifications or reputation. Renho, a leading opposition lawmaker, used to be a gravure model, and her party also includes Ayaka Shiomura, likewise a one-time gravure idol. A recent example is former gravure hottie (well, she’s still a hottie but she’s no longer doing gravure) Chisato Morishita, who has so far failed in her ambitions.

The NHK Party’s current sole member of the Japanese Diet, Yoshikazu Higashitani (aka GaaSyy), has just been expelled for failing to turn up for work once since election. He is a YouTuber based in Dubai and cannot return to Japan for fear of arrest over fraud allegations. Now police have issued yet another arrest warrant for him on further charges related to intimidation online defamation (GaaSyy is notorious for the wild things he has said online; see the accusations he made against actor Mackenyu Arata of sex with minors and more). He won his seat on proportional representation votes.

The party’s name change is also an image rebrand (it had previously had a very male-centric image), indicating it is either trying to pick up other kinds of voters (younger people and woman) or merely pandering to what its current demographic wants to see (i.e., eye candy), since they vote for any candidate based on their agreement with the party’s anti-NHK and antiestablishment stance.

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