Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yohei Miyake Energizes Young (and Young at Heart) Voters for a Seat in Japan's Upper House

34-year-old Yohei Miyake is an highly popular and acclaimed reggae-rock musician in Japan. He's running for a seat in the Upper House of the National Diet for the Green party in the proportional representation part of the election.

Along with Taro Yamamoto, who is running from Tokyo, Miyake seems to be winning young voters and not-so-young voters who have never bothered with elections with the message he delivers with his guitar.

He speaks as he plays guitar, and occasionally breaks into singing - in the centuries-old Japanese tradition of emotive story-telling with a string instrument.

I've heard about him, but I never bothered to view his election appearances until one of my Twitter followers sent me a video with English subtitle. (Like, just now.)

I was shocked to see a nice-looking man who looks to have actually grown into adulthood, instead of simply getting old with the wrinkled face of an elementary school boy (like so many of politicians and so many of so-called elite bureaucrats and corporate executives in Japan).

I was shocked again when I saw a huge audience at the end of the video. You don't see that kind of crowd at campaign speeches by established parties.

From Miyake's appearance in Kichijoji, Tokyo on the first day of the election campaign on July 4, 2013, with English subtitle:

The large crowd doesn't necessarily translate into votes, but I sense the audience is feeling empowered by him, which is rare in Japan.

His official slogan at his official site says, "Turn all weapons into musical instruments." Being a musician myself, I'm all for that. I do not agree with many of his policies, but that doesn't really matter.

(In fact, I quite disagree with some of his policies, particularly one about consumption tax. He proposes tax on financial assets instead of consumption tax. That's Cyprus, and that's unfair double-taxation on people who saved their earnings post-tax, just because these people have bank accounts and investment accounts that are big enough for the government to plunder. I don't know what rate he is thinking of.)

Official blog (Japanese only):


Like Yamamoto's, Miyake's campaign organization is made up of all volunteers.


Anonymous said...

I saw him with Yamamoto Taro in Shibuya. The guy's OK, but I don't picture him writing pieces of legislation, to be honest (I guess that's not the point anyway).

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Hardly any of the legislators write legislation in the Japanese Diet. So no worry there. It's so rare that there is even a special word for it when it happens (legislation by member(s) of the Diet, or 議員立法 - legislator legislation).

Anonymous said...

Consumption tax can also be considered double taxation of some sort.

btw this Miyake figure reminds me of the comic 20th Century Boys (Naoki Urasawa). Can't say more as that'd be treading into spoiler territory.

Anonymous said...

The lad talks well. Do young people give a shit though?
Lets hope so.

Unknown said...

Must be very careful with the words being spoken to what may actually transpire, may ultimately be two different realities. Maybe he does mean what he says, and maybe true to his word. But be careful, Hitler was also very well spoken, and many people were misled down a dark path

Anonymous said...

Miyake as Hitler? Excuse me? Japan already has one, and his name is Abe.

marumaruko said...

late to the party. However, tax on financial assets is the way to go. Money simply exists to be spent, so those with a lot of money (there is always a limitation though, of course) should be forced into spending instead of hoarding crazy amounts of money for nothing (rots on bank accounts). Also this is strongly debated in the EU and probably will be applied in several countries in the next 4-5 years, as those with money in excess of a specific amount (debated; I'd say 500000Euros) can easily survive a let's say 10% tax for financial assets.
If people want to avoid those they can simply spend to help their local economy instead of selfishly hoarding it, because ultimately that's not the purpose of money.
The Cyprus regulations mostly targeted "illegal" (as in avoiding their local taxation) money from foreign investors plus money from mafia-like organisations. So nothing wrong with that either.

marumaruko said...

however. It is crazy that Japan has no consumption tax for goods. While it surely lowers prices and keeps goods relatively cheap this would also help to make people spend higher amounts of money.
it doesn't even need to start at the level of say Germany (7% for essential goods such as books, foods; and 19% for pure consumer goods) but could start at a rate of 3%/9% or something like that.

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