Can Tokyo learn from the American political ‘matsuri’?
Japan’s politics are as Machiavellian as anyone else’s behind closed doors, but their public campaigns are demure compared to the United States — and many in Tokyo are aghast at the negative campaign tactics used on the road to the White House.
The idea that whoever won the 2008 Democratic nomination would make history was exciting for the Japanese. This time around, most people see the current field of Republican hopefuls as a noisy blur, an only-in-America phenomenon — or a “matsuri,” as one woman described it, in reference to Japan’s colorful, oft-chaotic outdoor festivals.
In contrast to the US, Japanese citizens hold far less interest in their government. Part of this is the way our prime minister is elected. Since the Prime Minister in Japan is not elected by the people, citizens in Japan do not receive the “feel” of any contribution to the outcome of the election. Thus, people start to lose interest in their government since their voices will not be heard anyway.
I think this post is an ironic post for the Japanese who do not care much about their government and care much more about other country’s government or a mega pop idol group. I believe that Japanese politics have a lot to learn from those of America’s. I consider that the election of the Prime Minister should be done by us, not just by people in the cabinet. For the Prime Minister is elected by such specific people, I have always felt that the government is a separated, far, isolated place where my voice would not be delivered. I have felt that things are declared after they have decided and I just have a choice to agree to or disagree to it. Therefore, I hardly have interest in politics and hardly have listened to the Prime Minister’s speech. I believe that many people feel the same way as I do because if it was not like this, the Prime Minister would not change so often in a year. On the other hand, an American president is much closer to his people (even dines with them!), elected by them and their speech is moving and full of energy. Even college students listen to them. I believe that the Japanese government needs a prime minister who has a more dynamic decision-making. and of course, we Japanese people should have more interest in changing our own country, not just in a pop idol group of cute girls.