Clinton Towers Trump in First Debate

hillary-clinton-in-shinkansenIt’s too early to call the election but if the vote were held in Japan, Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide. This is a non-scientific poll since I’m basing this on the audible gasp from my students when the race was reported “neck and neck” before the Hofstra debate.

[If you are in the mood for a lengthier treatise on the first debate, check out my Clinton Towered Trump Huffington Post blog.]

What did Hillary Clinton do right? Plenty. She was calm in Trump’s storm. She was prepared and full of pokes and zingers to get Trump off his game.

Two weeks ago it was Hillary Clinton unsteady on her feet. In Hempstead, New York, it was Trump looking and sounding frustrated and unfocused.

What did Donald Trump do wrong? He was too “Donald being Donald.” He interrupted. He forgot (God forbid) that he was always on camera, thanks to that pro-Hillary split screen. In the general election season, all six weeks of it left before November 8, Trump will need to act more like what too many are frightened to imagine: President Trump.

It’s still possible for him to TRiUMPh, but he will have to be more disciplined, calm, and steady in the next two debates. He is now facing a candidate who doesn’t fear him, is not intimidated, and is red power suit ready!

 

CNN Reports on Millennials and Sexless Japan and I’m Part of the Story

On  Tuesday I was interviewed by CNN International “Japan’s Virgins” about a recent government survey that reported nearly half of millennials in Japan (well, actually 44%) are not sexually active at all. Of course this is no one’s business but the person being surveyed, but why this matters beyond the titillating headline is that we all know how obsessed the government of Japan is with fertility and procreation.

Japan’s future survival depends on producing more Japanese to support a rapidly aging and long-living population (think inverted pyramid). It’s not reasonable to expect Japan to reverse a long course of severely limiting immigration or opposing much intermarriage. That’s why whether or not young people are even open to sexual relations with each other is a policy and political concern with international implications. Think about it. If Japanese aren’t reproducing themselves in larger numbers, then Japan won’t have personnel for its military and industry. And Prime Minister Abe’s Japan has big plans for Japan’s military. He needs to replenish forces with more Japanese men and women.

If you haven’t had a chance, please buy a copy of my latest book, Japan’s Information War, published in July 2016. Copies are literally flying off the shelves. The difference is that those shelves are mine as I remove copies I bought to take with me when I give invited lectures. (Warning: If you a student enrolled in my classes at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, you are a  captive audience and you will be required to read my book this semester.) Read my chapter, “No Sex: Brand Japan Stereotypes.” In it I spend a lot of time talking about sex in Japan as portrayed in the global media. Why? Because the world seems fascinated with whether or not the Japanese younger generation is getting together, coupling, dating, uniting–you get the picture. Well, let’s just ask Barry White to paint that picture for us:

So the world is fascinated with sexless Japan. Just check out this YouTube personality, Philip DeFranco, who showed my picture and quoted me from the CNN story:

You see, sex sells! Always has, always will. I could talk about the most serious policy issue and get no attention but if I comment about sex, then I’m famous for a half a minute.

Here’s the rub.

What is happening here in Japan is occurring in other parts of the world. Like Italy. The difference is that we associate Italian men and women with romance and love. It’s part of nation brand Italy: fast cars and even faster men. Or if we are seeking classic romance, then it’s Italy again. Think Roman Holiday. Better yet, watch Roman Holiday. Maybe it will put us all in the romantic mood. But I digress.

My suggestion to Japanese Millennials: Relax.half full

Don’t feel pressured to overcome global media stereotypes or exaggerations. The country of Japan is going to survive. It will be fine. It may have to open itself up more to foreigners in various categories from short-term workers to permanent residents, but I have full confidence that this country is going to right the ship. Or should I say love boat?!

 

Clinton Health Major Campaign Concern

There is no question that despite the obvious liberal Democratic tilt that mainstream media is taking in Campaign 2016, one unavoidable vulnerability for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is her questionable health readiness for the job. Granted, both presidential nominees are senior citizens eligible for Social Security. But Clinton’s health is a meme touchdown for Donald Trump.

The video of Hillary Clinton being carried into her Scooby Van security vehicle at the 9/11 15th anniversary ceremony is enough to make every American citizen wonder about her physical fitness readiness for one of the most stressful jobs in the world. She’s 68 now and turns 69 on October 26th, just two weeks before Election Day. Donald Trump turned 70 on June 14th. He has his own vulnerabilities, including his birther comments about Barack Obama, reluctance to release his full tax returns, Trump University, etc., but he seems like a political and persuasive mega machine compared to Hillary Clinton. (See my Trump talk from May 2016).

Trump’s supporters call themselves the centipedes–they just keep crawling along, slow and steady, and they are solidly behind Trump. Whatever he says, whatever he does, he isn’t going to lose his core centipede supporters. The ground underneath Hillary Clinton isn’t so solid. She is still favored in the election, but my political friends and news junkies, we have never seen an election in American political history quite like this one. I know that I haven’t seen one in my lifetime. This state of politics in America, partial hat tip to Thomas Hobbes, is nasty, brutish but long. Much too long.

Hold onto your sanity. It’s going to be a bumpy autumn.

Brand Hillary vs. Brand Trump

Hillary’s campaign slogan: I’m with her.im-with-her

Trump’s campaign slogan: Make America great again.

make-america-great-again

Does a presidential election increasingly come down to a slogan or catchy phrase put to music? Yes, indeed. But not just this year. It’s been part of the American political landscape in the modern mass media era for over sixty years.

In 1952, Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower was helped by his catchy I Like Ike campaign commercial. Or consider this repetitive jingle about Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy from 1960. Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy! In 1972, we had Nixon Now.

What do all these slogans and campaign songs have in common? They use a propaganda technique called glittering generalities, identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938 as one of the 7 main propaganda techniques. Something that glitters is like gold. It connotes something positive or ideal, even if the particular policies attached to these words are never explained.

I’m with her connotes attachment to potentially the first woman president of the United States. Get on board. Be a part of history making. Make America Great Again is a direct focus on nationalism and America first principles and ideals.

A GG (glittering generality) uses attractive but unspecific words that appeal to values and emotions. The more general and less specific a candidate can be, the better off s/he is with voters. Your goal is to appeal across a wide spectrum. Let the voters fill in the blanks as to the meaning of your GG. All you want is their support. Being too specific loses support.

 

 

Caroline Kennedy’s Japan Greeting (US Embassy Tokyo)

In this video message, the new ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, delivers a personal “Ohayo Gozaimasu” from her home in New York. She studied Japanese history in college, traveled to Hiroshima with her Uncle Ted when she was 20, and spent part of her honeymoon in Nara and Kyoto. I welcome her as America’s newest ambassador and believe that she will be an excellent cultural mediator between the U.S. and Japan.

The BBC presents: No Sex Please, We’re Japanese

No Sex Please, We’re Japanese

Thank you, BBC, for reinforcing cultural stereotypes. Isn’t low fertility a phenomenon happening in quite a few other countries? Joshua Keating makes this point in Slate: “A number of Eastern European countries have lower fertility rates than Japan, but we don’t often see articles portraying Czechs and Poles as sexless nerds.”