Monday, April 07, 2014
Stop. Wait. Do You Know Who I Am?
I suppose I should not try to double-guess Tokyo Metropolitan District Governor Masuzoe Yo'ichi. He did, after all, navigate through rough political waters to victory in February.
However, I must confess puzzlement at Masuzoe's willingness to be used as a ratings prop by news organizations. He is supposed to be running the world's richest and most populous municipality. How can he have time to sit helpless in TV studios doing nothing as producers run 4 minutes long features and as snide and chirpy hosts bypass the governor to elicit comments from other guests of decidedly minor stature, meaning that their utterances will be remarkable not only their dearth of knowledge but their lack of significance and/or relevance.
Seeing Masuzoe imprisoned in chair on the Nihon Terebi (Yomiuri Shimbun Group) Saturday and Fuji TV (Fuji Sankei Group) Sunday morning shows had me asking, over and over again, "What is he doing there? Is he afraid that if we do not see him continuing his ring-around-the-talk shows tours, we will forget who is Tokyo's governor? Or is he merely trying to feed the media beast pre-emptively so that when crunch time comes, the conservative media conglomerates do not bite him?"
For any and all politicians, Fuji TV's Sunday morning show is a particular ordeal. The announcers and other guests just toss bait -- annoyances, insults or irrelevant nonsense -- at the main guest trying to get him or her to create a scandal by a provocative or merely poorly thought out response.
Than again, Masuzoe seems to need no prompting to toss sharp and not entirely well thought out remarks on his own. On Saturday he dismissed of the Akasaka Detached Palace where the Government of Japan houses and receives its most honored guests as "a sham Versailles" unworthy and unrepresentative of Japan (Link - J). His longing for a "more Japanese" building fror housing honored guests begs the question, "OK, Monsieur Pantalons-Astucieux," -- Masuzoe is a Francophone and has taught in Paris -- "where in the budget of either the GOJ or the TMG is there the money to pay for a substitute?"
Later - While we are on the subject of Japan-France cultural interactions, the openings of two local exhibitions of note:
- "Okamoto Taro and his Friend in Paris," at the Taro Okamoto Museum in Kawasaki (Link - J)
- "Fer et Cocon" ("Iron and Cocoons") at the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History in Yokohama (Brochure - J - pdf)