Smile-OK, don't.

corner 40.

Political Posters

Smile and Shake a Fist: Political Posters in Japan.



thpo_ooi2. 08aug22.

Watch out Tokyo! Ooi-san is running for office! Let's enjoy some of the more unusual posters.


thpo_ooi1. o8aug22.

Ooi-san (Mr. Cherry-blossom Well) is literally running for office. Large red kanji on the right reads, "Political Administration!" Kanji on the left says, "chousen, "Challenge!" or "Defiance!"

Ooi Hiroyuki is 42 years old. Yes, he has a fist raised, but is it because he is running (at least his tie and suit jacket are, his hair is remarkably in place) for office (either to join or to combat the "Political Administration," it is hard to tell which. Either way, he has that "go for it" energy. While I recommend more exciting glasses, this is a wildly dynamic poster by Japanese campaign standards.

thpo_quest. 08feb14.

The Quest for Justice. Still my favorite. In English, "TQFJ," "Mineyuki Fukuda," and tiny, tiny print in the lower left hand corner giving office contact information. Only thing missing here is his superhero cape. Love the red, the swash of the "Q" but "JUSTICE"? Even for those Japanese who can read this, what does it mean? Who knows, but it is a really stylish poster! "Look! Up in the Sky! It's SuperFukuda!"


Japanese campaign posters! Doublefisted campaigners in all their doughty glory! The only place where shaking one's fist at the public is acceptable! Masuharu shakes his fist at me everywhere I go in Nakayama. Please, give him what he wants! August 2006.


Tamura Tomoko in Setagaya-ku. Women on campaign posters present a buff image of the middle-aged Japanese women. She may not be Peaches, but she looks like she can hold her own in the smoke-filled corridors of powers and still keep her hair puffed, lips glossed, and suit immaculate. You know she isn't serving the tea. You go, girl!


Satoyoshi Yumi in Setagaya-ku. She wants barrier free zones. Who could say "No" to Mom? August 2006.


Gejou Chuuyuu or "lower-article of law-loyalty-great male superior leader" appears to describe himself as ikki tousen or "matchless warrior". I'm still trying to figure this one out, but he seems to be full of male energy. Whatever his name is, vote for him-he is a Man's Man. August 2006.

thpo_dpj.Democratic Party of Japan.

The Democratic Party of Japan would deeply appreciate it if you would kindly vote for these two. These are the most trustable faces in Japan. I think I saw them running a jazz and coffee cafe in Kyoto last year with great civility and quiet dignity. May 2006.


Maegawa Ayako in Kamakura has the earnest look of everyone's Mom giving the kids their handmade bento lunchboxes for school. Feminine at all times, her poster uses pink for her message and her loyal supporters color coordinated her poster's position next to a matching fire extinguisher box in the neighborhood. Campaigning can't get better than this. May 2006.

thpo_abe. 06dec28.

Japan's previous Prime Minister Abe appears to be running for something. Or from something. This poster has achieved ubiquity status. He recently sidestepped the entire Yasukuni/War Crimes/"I'm sorry," controversy by visiting the nearby Meiji shrine on New Year's Day instead. March 6, 2007: He also won't apologize for the hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Korean "comfort women" (check out: The Historical Museum of Sexual Slavery by the Japanese Military in Gwangju, south of Seoul) used and abused by the Japanese Army while Japan was testing how far they could extend their Imperial colonialization. Too far, it turned out. Come'on now, Abe-san, give it a rest and say it was regrettable! See below.

thpo_onishi. 07dec.

Japanese Shops of the Weird


A little tea shop in Harujuku, along Omotesando, offers you to come in and enjoy...well, what exactly? An hourglass of red sand? Kanji reads as "Ko-cha no mise" or "Little Shop of Black Tea." They are "tea specialists" no matter that at first read they are offering you "a good cup with sand"...and "glass tea." OK, the hourglass image I get but what is that other bit of abstract art?