Monday, February 03, 2014

Tamogami Toshio, Live

The news slows
People forget
The shares crash, hopes are dashed
People forget
Forget they're hiding.
Behind an eminence front
An eminence front - it's a put-on
Come and join the party
Dress to kill

- Pete Townsend, "Eminence Front" (1982)
The candidacy of former Chief of Staff of the Air Self Defense Forces Tamogami Toshio for the post of governor of Tokyo has been a thing of wonder. First that the general, who lives a very comfortable life off not only his taxpayer-funded pension but also off the revenues generated by his, and this is the organization's real name, “Fight Hard Japan! - All Nation Action Committee” (Ganbare Nippon - Zenkoku Kodo Iinkai) -- the umbrella under which all of Japan's xenophobes and paranoids seem to seek shelter -- is not the smartest in terms of personal cash flow. That he should come out of retirement to take on the job of running the Tokyo Metropolitan District, a place crammed with the very sort of folks his followers want expelled from Japan or locked up in prison, in his first attempt to ever run for anything (the other three main candidates having run and won election to some kind of office in the past) challenges the boundaries of "hubris" and "chutzpah" (the closest Japanese-language equivalent being jishin no kajo, an "excess of confidence").

Second, that the Japanese news media as a whole, not just scared-stiff folks at NHK News (Link) but everyone, has been handling Tamogami with kid gloves. Seemingly The General's email, Facebook and Twitter army of savages has scared the daylights anyone who might deign to ask him about his dismissal early retirement, his organization, his followers, his relationship with Abe Shinzo, his impossible government spending and tax cut promises, his politicization of the ASDF, his participation in a contest rigged to select him as the winner (Link), what he will do to protect the Korean residents of Shin Okubo from death threats and other forms of harassment, his views on the outbreak of World War II (Link), his plans for patriotic education in Tokyo schools, his sexualized campaign (Link - J) cetera, et cetera, et cetera...

Today, however, Tamogami will appear at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan (Link). He will be facing a room full of folks who are rather harder to terrify than Japan's news media producers and distributors. To be sure, there will be ringers in the room -- Tamogami would never put in an appearance anywhere where the crowd is not at least salted, if not completed stuffed, with revisionists ready to sing his praises. These folks will try to grab the microphone and eat up the clock with powder puff and leading questions.

If the non-Japan journalists show up prepped and ready -- and if the moderator cuts off the ringers at the git go -- then this shichimencho may finally feel the fork he has up until now avoid having stuck in him.

We will see how Tamogami responds to a sticking. My bet is that the results will be...unattractive.

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