This weekend, Japanese voters will head to the polls to elect new lawmakers. Some expect that the election will drive the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) out of power and replace it with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by former PM Shinzo Abe.
If you’ve watched much Japanese television over the last couple weeks, you’ve probably noticed that political parties are running a modest number of commercials. It’s a little more tame than the kind of stuff that goes down in America, where parties and political groups flood the airwaves with ads that harshly attack opponents.
Let’s look at a few examples.
First, we have the LDP’s commercial:
It’s a very simple commercial with a very simple message. Shinzo Abe repeatedly calls on voters to help him “take back” Japan and return the country to economic prosperity.
The DPJ’s commercial is also very simple:
This one has Prime Minister Noda standing in front of a red screen as the camera slowly zooms in on his face. In contrast to the LDP message, Noda emphasizes the need to move forward and create a future that we can proudly leave to our children and grandchildren. Their slogan notes the importance of determination.
Both major parties have pretty boring commercials. The smaller parties have less to lose, so they can take a risk by making their commercials creative and/or entertaining.
Although I have not seen them aired on television, the Japan Communist Party’s YouTube channel has uploaded several issue-specific ads. For example, here is one about raising the sales tax:
As cute birds bathe, they discuss how raising the sales tax might make it hard for them afford daily baths. They wonder why they, the common folks, have to suffer from such a tax increase. Shouldn’t the government tax rich people instead? (Another ad sends the same message with a conversation between two men eating oden.)
The JCP also has an anti-TPP advertisement:
Cute little onigiri are discussing the impact of a free trade agreement with the United States. Japanese farmers work hard to produce rice, but if Japan joins the TPP, say goodbye to those cute rice balls! (In another ad, pushy American beef is trying to force Japanese beef off a supermarket shelf.)
The JCP has a few other ads too. One has a light bulb telling voters to support the complete abolition of nuclear energy in Japan. Another anti-nuclear ad has a hermit crab that fears for his life and wants Japanese people to remember the scary explosion that occurred in 2011. In one ad opposing U.S. bases in Okinawa an American aircraft replies to Okinawans’ safety concerns by saying everything is okay. The aircraft speaks Japanese with a shitty American gaijin accent. Another anti-base ad has cute fish playing up fears about Osprey aircraft.
Here is the CM for Your Party (or “Everyone’s Party” in Japanese):
Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe races across the screen on a skateboard! So hip and cool! Watanabe says there are more important things to do than raise taxes. The CM also emphasizes the party’s total opposition to nuclear energy and focus on economic recovery.
The Happiness Realization Party, a right-wing party that is linked to the Happy Science spiritual movement, was known for some pretty extreme advertisements during previous elections. Unfortunately, their CM for this year is a bit more boring:
One of their leaders outlines their major policies: 1) protect Japan from China’s nuclear weapons by strengthening defense (within the U.S.-Japan Alliance), 2) stop attempts to raise the sales tax, and 3) move forward with the development of nuclear energy in Japan.
On a recent edition of the “Panic Face” television show, Nigerian-born celebrity Bobby Ologun was dressed up as a gorilla for a hidden camera prank:
The prank was meant to fool his youngest daughter. Bobby and his two other kids tricked her into believing that they were filming a travel program. When visiting the town, they were shown a “shrine” to the local “gorilla god.” According to fake legend, if one of your family members turns into a gorilla, you can offer bananas to the gorilla shrine and the god will transform your family member back into a human.
When Bobby and the kids went to bed that night, everything seemed normal. But in the middle of the night he got up and a special effects team transformed him into a gorilla. He crawled back into bed before his youngest daughter woke up. When morning came, she was told that daddy had turned into a gorilla while sleeping!
After some initial shock, she took charge of the situation. She helped Bobby hide in a closet while she went to find the gorilla shrine, which happened to be only a short walk from the hotel. Television staff disguised as townsfolk guided her to the location of the fake shrine.
When she offered bananas to the shrine, the gorilla god spoke to her! It was actually her father, but she apparently did not know it. After telling the gorilla god that she loved her dad and wanted him back, Bobby appeared in human form and revealed the prank to her.
Categories: Japanese TV
A Japanese TV show tricks a comedian into thinking that they are filming a program that introduces beautiful fireworks to viewers. In fact, it is all a set up for a prank:
Earlier in the day, they had spoken to representatives of a fireworks company, watching as the crew loaded an enormous ball into a launching tube. It is supposed to be very impressive when it exploded. But, for some reason, after it is launched into the air, no explosion occurs!
Suddenly, a fake dud crashes through the ceiling of the shed. As the fear-struck comedian flees in terror, everyone gets a good laugh. He thought he was about to be killed! LOL!
Categories: Japanese TV
TV personalities Bobby Ologun and Dave Spector are appearing in commercials for Konami’s new Star Wars game, which is available on Gree:
The clip contains three commercials. Bobby Ologun plays the role of a Jedi and Dave Spector plays the role of an Imperial officer.
In the first commercial, Bobby annoys the Jedi Council by yapping on about the new Star Wars game. In the second commercial, Dave Spector gets force-choked for boasting about the pun-tastic power of the “Dave Star.” And in the third commercial, Dave gets choked again for impatiently whining to Vader about the mobile phone game.
[hat tip to Eido]