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Election Posters in Japan

Here in Japan, we just had two elections back to back. First, for the prefectural government, and then for mayorships and local governments.

Well, “we…” As a foreign resident, I’m not allowed to vote. I get it, I’m not complaining, but I think it’s a bit silly that foreign residents (especially permanent ones) can’t vote in local elections. But I’m not holding my breath, I don’t think this is a reform I will see in my lifetime in Japan. I’m sure it hasn’t even crossed most Japanese people’s minds that foreigners could want to have an opinion about their local governments. And let’s not delve into the different layers of nationalism in the country, especially in the field of politics.

But that’s not my topic, today.

My topic is the wall of election posters that are erected all over the city during such times.

Sometimes, I wonder what their point is. And then, I remember that not everyone is terminally online, especially older people (who are a good chunk of the population, as you may have heard). So, if I am to believe that scene I witnessed, they do serve a purpose:


Old man looking at a wall full of election posters in Japan


Among all the candidates, two of them caught my eye, or at least their posters. And they were right next to each other:

Elections 2023 Takamatsu detail

On the left, this young man, named Yasuo Nonaka has instantly gotten my sympathy. I mean, he’s posing with a daikon in his hand. Anyone who goes into an election campaign with daikon deserves some kind of respect. More seriously, I don’t know who he is, but his slogan is “Stop Climate Change!” and well, he has even more of my respect for this. Especially in this country, the climate crisis is still an abstract concept for most, especially the powers that be. I looked him up a little and unfortunately, he wasn’t elected, which doesn’t surprise me.

The man on the right is Yoji Kagawa, and while I don’t know him personally, I have run into him in town at least a couple of times, and well… He has a killer ‘stache! That’s the reason I noticed him the first time, the reason I remembered him when I saw his face on posters. We have a few friends in common on Facebook. He’s a vet. That’s pretty much all I know about him. I think he was already a member of the city council, and I think he got reelected. I don’t know where he stands politically. But this ‘stache….


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