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From One God to the UFO Party, eccentric election campaigners are out of this world

Jesus Matayoshi has no doubt about his abilities to be able to wrench Japan out of the economic cesspit in which it has been mired since the start of the '90s, according to Cyzo (November).

"I am Jesus Matayoshi, the One God," the head of the Integrated World Economy Party tells Cyzo. "I have come to right Japan and the world. This is the Second Coming."

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has made much of the fact that many who know him regard him as a weirdo. He's comfortable with the label and is certainly sitting pretty having led his Liberal Democratic Party into a position of power following September elections. But, as Cyzo notes, he's not the only politician happy to be coming out of left field, with the past 20 years a veritable wealth of eccentric election campaigners.

Jesus Matayoshi is a perfect example. Unlike the man from who he takes his name, this Jesus hasn't quite found out how to work miracles with voters yet. His efforts at campaigning for a place on the Okinawa Municipal Assembly, the Okinawa governor's post and several tries at a Diet seat have all proved fruitless. But he remains undaunted.

"Politics will not be righted simply by pursuing accountability. Life is the most important issue. Profit oriented capitalism is a killer," he says.

Jesus Matayoshi may not do well on polling days, but he remains one of Japan's most popular politicians in cyberspace.

"On some days, I get as many as 170,000 page views on my site," the self-professed One God says. "I am eternally grateful." If he is who he claims to be, Jesus Matayoshi may indeed be able to express his thanks that long.

Also drawing on religion for her name is Maria Chiba, whose biggest claim to fame is having been born 20 years ago as the illegitimate child of yakuza movie star Hiroki Matsukata. Perhaps it's this holy moniker that gives the former singer her view of politics that some say is divine.

"Politics is too hard for me," Cyzo quotes a 2001 campaign speech from Maria, who uses the Japanese reading of the name for the Holy Virgin. "I don't want to talk politics, I just want to sing."

As an octogenarian, Riho Mitsui didn't exactly bring a spark of life to Japanese politics when she ran in a series of national elections in the early '90s. She was notable, however, for her campaign pledge to try and have homework banned during school summer vacation periods.

A far more palatable taste, perhaps, came from the Aisuto, the Vinegar Lovers' Party, which fought out the 1986 Lower House election on a campaign of "Drink Vinegar for Better Health," but won no seats.

"It was the first Japanese party to campaign on food issues," political commentator Yutaka Okawa tells Cyzo. "In that regard, it had quite an impact."

Without doubt, however, the most out of this world Japanese political group in the past few decades has been the UFO Party. It argued that if UFOs were of importance significant enough for the U.S. Congress to discuss them, then Japan's Diet should be doing the same.

"By becoming a candidate," Cyzo quotes UFO Party Leader Tokuo Moriwaki as saying, "I will make sure there are no more taboos about UFOs." (By Ryann Connell)

(Mainichi Japan) October 27, 2005

 

WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications. The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the contents of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or the Mainichi Newspapers Co. WaiWai © Mainichi Newspapers Co. 1989-2007.

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