Ishihara wins Tokyo Gov., ex-comedian Miyazaki Gov. loses

04/09/2011
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Update
Shintaro Ishihara, 78, won his fourth four-year-term in Tokyo’s gubernatorial race with roughly 35.1 percent of the vote. He was supported by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito Party (Soka Gakkai).

Ishihara said as he accepted victory, “Japanese beauty remains in Japanese people, but unless we suppress our egoism, Japan will not revive. We’d better change our lifestyle. Our convenient, consumerist lifestyle cannot last. You can live without vending machines.”

Hideo Higashikokubaru said, “I lost because I wasn’t able to clearly communicate my policies. But through this campaign I learned a lot about team work and the people who supported me. It was a valuable learning experience for the future.”

He added that many people didn’t know there was an election today. “I was surprised by that.”

Voter turnout was about 47 percent at 7:30 p.m., polls close at 8 p.m.

Ex. comedian governor run for top office
TOKYO (majirox news) – Hideo Higashikokubaru, who usually goes by the name Higashikokubaru, was spotted today by Majirox New’s staff cycling up Meji Doori in Tokyo alone with no staff, flacks or hoopla around him, just the man himself on a bicycle. He was probably on his way to press flesh and give a speech in front of Ikebukuro station. He wore a large sash that unmistakably proclaimed “Higashikokubaru for Tokyo Governor.”

It’s hard to think of any other country where a person this well known, running for the most important elective office in Japan (the Prime Minister is not elected by the Japanese public) can cycle down a street with no security or police cars surrounding him and not even get a honk honked at him, let alone a shoe thrown at him.

Hihashikokubaru is one of several TV personalities who have gone into politics and one of the best-known faces in Japan. Ren Ho, well know for her biting questions on appropriations committees, is another.

Higashikokubaru, who got his start in TV under Beat Takeshi, is best known for his role in Takeshi’s game show called Takeshi’s Castle . He is also know for another embarrassing episode. He and some members of Takeshi’s coterie raided a competing talent office with fire extinguishers for reportedly bad mouthing Beat Takeshi. The judge had no sense of humor and threw the book at Higashikokubaru and his fellow high jinxers, giving them two years in the joint, suspended.

He’s been on good behavior since then, good enough behavior to get elected Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture in 2007 where he served until this year. His term over, he’s now running for Governor of Tokyo.

What his politics are is anyone’s guess. His platform published with the other candidates for Governor of Tokyo can be interpreted as cautious statements of practical realities or double talk intend solely to get him elected.

However, given some of the outright xenophobes running for Governor of Tokyo, perhaps the people of Tokyo could do worse.

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