The war cries have been heard – a group of more than 2000 will march into a mighty battle (大戦) where only 300 or less will remain standing at the end (日). In other words, Hashimoto Toru’s seiji juku has begun, attracting Japanese dedicated to reform and the upset of the stagnant status quo from as far as Thailand and Singapore.
However the Asahi let through a snippet of information that might be crucial to how successful Hashimoto will be at shaping the “we are the only choice for reform” narrative.
Around 90% of the participants are men. And likely ambitious alpha-males at that (日).
Now Japan’s gender representation statistics in general are still pretty awful. However the female portion of the Japanese electorate has consistently been the most supportive of reform to existing relations of power in Japan, for very obvious reasons.
Furthermore, one of the key things that Koizumi and Ozawa, as engineers of large lower house majorities, understood is that emphasis on images of youth and particularly success and competence of the feminine sort played well. Of course we had the “female assassins” of 2005 and “Ozawa’s girls” in 2009 (and the historically “high” percentage of females in the DPJ’s 2009 lower house allotment). Both derogatory conceptualizations and completely missing the point to be sure but nevertheless likely relevant to some degree of electoral success. Moreover, in those crucial electoral seats a strategically placed young, recent mother with a formerly successful professional and non-political career background could be the perfect contrast to a greyed, wrinkled sexagenarian-plus establishment politician who has never changed a nappy or worked an honest day in his life, and with views of women going back to their grandfather’s generation (who was probably also a politician). Absolute electoral gold.
Hashimoto may need to be wary of the Ishin no kai turning into a sausage party when he makes his final selections, if for no other reason that militant-sounding calls for fascism (even if theatrical) with a feminine touch may be less disconcerting.
NB: Actually I can’t remember where I read it but it seems that the establishment’s drive to brand Hashimoto a dictator is only having a slight impact on public opinion. Which does not surprise me, all other things being equal.