Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ooooh, that was awkward

The political videoclip of the morning was a nasty bit of business between Sato Yukari and Gifu Mayor Hosoe Shigemitsu.

Before a gaggle of the press, Sato--the CSFB banker, Ph.D. in Economics from NYU “assassin” assigned to take out postal rebel Noda Seiko--bowed deeply to Hosoe, then reached out her hand in order give the press a “handshake for the cameras” shot. Hosoe, however, ignored her hand, looked to the members of the press, acknowledged their presence with a nod, turned on his heel and walked away--leaving Sato stunned.

It would not have been so bad if the voiceover announcer (male, of course) had not decided to put his own spin on the scene, saying:

“Well, now she sees they do things differently out in the chiho than they do in the tokai.”

implicating that in Gifu at least, women know better than to try to shake the hands of men they do not know, or better yet, shake hands with men at all.

The announcer could have noted that the Gifu chapter of the LDP is in open revolt against the central party leadership, or that Gifu is the Holy See of the postal tribe, or that Hosoe has been a strong supporter of Noda.

Instead, the announcer took this awkward instant and transformed it into a “city slickers with their advanced degrees, Western manners and equality of the sexes think they can just come down to the inaka and lord it over us-- well, it ain’t gonna happen” moment.

The important question is whether the press from here on starts giving more airtime to this “resentment of the countryside” trope.

Koizumi and the LDP have been fortunate up to this point. They have steamrolled both the local press and local political establishments, keeping the maudlin off the airwaves. Most viewers and readers, for instance, have been spared Kamei Shizuka's crying jags over the amount of love he has been receiving from his furusato.

If the “anger of the chiho” angle rises to the level of a ronso (and no, endless harping on a subject in between the covers of Shukan Bunshun does not make that subject into a ronso) then the DPJ/LDP race for dominance may become a closely fought contest indeed.

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