Saturday, May 05, 2007

I Have Got the Power Now

Does this weird you out as much as it weirds me out?

OK, so he has to have two microphones--because he has far too much katsuryoku for only one.

Then this holy light emanating from his clenched fist--an homage to manga illustrations superhuman powers? If it were Buddhist iconography, the beams would be emanating from behind his head.

Was Koizumi ever portrayed as radiating? I cannot remember.

Then there's the odd counterpoint between this avowal of vitality, the PM's ineluctable droopiness and the Nagata-chō whispers of chronic ill health. Certainly, when I imagine a superman, I do not see him as a scarily thin dude dressed in long-sleeved, brilliant white salariman shirt.

"Vitality* unto Saitama. Vitality through growth."

Then in green, in the corner:

"Reforms that deliver improvements to your everyday life."

Or something like that.

What I are missing here is a sense that he is talking to me. He still looking off into the distance upward and to the side. I know this is supposed to be a representation of him campaigning, looking over the adoring multitudes from a perch high atop a sound truck. Still, I just do not get the sense of retail politics from this poster.

This image strikes me more as hagiography, like those weird "Way to Power" books you see advertised on the subway ever few months (I will admit, the subway bestsellers tend to use golden beams of light, not blue-white). It's sort of telling me, "Vote for the LDP or the see light fade from our lives!"

Is this where we are?


* Yes, I know katsuryoku can be translated a whole bunch of other ways too. I can't believe "mojo" is not one of them, considering that "lead in one's pencil" is one of the alternatives listed.

Image from a wall in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, May 4, 2007.
Photo by MTC


Anonymous said...

I have also been struck by the technocolor-esque nature of these photos. Almost reminds me of wartime poster, or even the Manchurian propaganda posters. Is it just for that natsukashii feeling, or is there something to that too? Hmmm...
Col. WDS

Jun Okumura said...

Mojo works for me. And does "lead in one's pencil" mean what I think it means?

He'll take off his jacket, but not his tie. Iconographers can have fun with that too.

Seriously, col WDS, the photo does have the vaguely wacky, prettified touch I, as a Japanese, remember from the days when we didn't have indoor plumbing. I think North Korea still uses this look. But what do I know? Maybe retro is in.