Celebrity lawyer Toru Hashimoto announced yesterday that he intends to run for the Osaka prefecture gubernatorial elections in a very long press conference Wednesday. This comes after Hashimoto denied running for the elections just a week ago, saying “I am 5000% sure I will not be running.”
Hashimoto is just one of a growing trend in celebrities to run for governmental positions. Another celebrity lawyer and co-presenter of Hashimoto, Kazuya Maruyama ran for a local post, much to the berating of Hashimoto at the time who suggested that, as someone who hadn’t studied politics, Maruyama’s actions were “irresponsible.” So far, the media’s response to Hashimoto has been mixed, including suggestions that although a celebrity, he may not be able to communicate politics in layman’s terms to the general public.
Another celebrity prefecture governor is Hideo Higashikokubaru, a comedian who has used his former occupation to advantage, utilizing his celebrity status to gain a tremendous amount of airtime for his prefecture, Miyazaki. The profile of the area has shot-up and tourism is booming–response from the media and public has been hugely successful, showing the power of using your celebrity status wisely.
It looks like comedians, ‘talentos,’ presenters and such are going to continue to use their celebrity status to gain a place in politics. The media lap it up because, after all, it makes for an interesting story and will increase readership/viewing figures. Let’s just hope they don’t use Arnold Schwarzenegger as an example of the ideal celebrity politician.
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