"Obama - we support you because we have the same name!"

With the current US presidential race full steam ahead, the Japanese media are focusing on something a little closer to home—the city of Obama in Fukui prefecture.

The city and the presidential candidate both share the same name and this has led the city to feverishly support Barack Obama’s bid for the US presidency. It remains unclear whether Obama city actually supports Barack’s policies but the shared name has sparked an opportunity to round up interest with a possible increase in tourism.

Not only the local media, but national and international media have focused on this little city. The Asahi Shimbun led their front page with the news that Barack Obama sent a letter to Obama city, thanking them for their support. The broadcast channels feature interviews with Obama city residents, showing their delight at sharing the same name.

But is this really important? Sure, it means that candidate Obama may have given a little attention to a small city in Japan, but will winning the election really boost tourism to the area? Are there likely to be people that think “Oh, the same name as a US president, I really must visit the place!” Dubious it seems. It seems a little ridiculous that a whole city of people are going to support the the presidency of the most powerful country in the world just because the name of the candidate. However, with the Japanese media’s new found interest in this city, we are likely to see growing PR for this area and perhaps, Obama city can enjoy their 15 minutes of fame for a little while longer.

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