Monday, March 19, 2012

He Who Laughs Last

I'm sure my critics will say
It's a grotesque display.
Well they can bite me baby
I perform this way.

- Al Yankovic, "I Perform This Way" (2011)

Despite the best effort of Shukan Bunshun, Kaieda Banri (Wait, was he not Ozawa Ichiro and Hatoyama Yukio's candidate in the last DPJ election? Yes, but he was also the 1996 author of this tome. Ambition has many colors) and mysterious associations working their magic from the shadows Ozawa Ichiro has survived to serve more than 25 years in the Diet. After passing the 25-year milestone, members of the House of Representatives are entitled to a number of perquisites, one of which is the hanging of his or her portrait in the Diet Building.

Ozawa, being a retiring, secretive individual of course...wait, here he is, beaming in front of his portrait as it is being hung for the benefit of the cameras both still and video. In a dose of purest irony, the portrait is hung in the room where the Committee for Judicial Affairs has its meetings.

The portrait has its host of critics. To be sure, it sure clashes with the more genial and relaxed mood of its immediate neighbors.

The Liberal Democratic Party's Hirasawa Katsuei -- "Mr. Abductees Issue" to you and me -- has complained that it gives him the creeps (iwakan - 違和感). "I feel like it's staring at me," he complains. (J)

Hirasawa and others have declaimed that now, while Ozawa is still on trial for violating the political funding laws, is hardly the time to hang his portrait. Such complaints have very little traction, however, given that the House of Representatives Steering Committee has just greenlighted a similar hanging in the Diet of the portrait of jailbird Suzuki Muneo, the multi-year winner of the "Most Corrupt Member of the Diet" in public surveys. (J)

But while Ozawa is beaming, possibly even laughing in the above photo images, I am not sure whether or not the joke is on Ozawa's many enemies or on himself.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, a close-up of the portrait, painted a former graduate of Ozawa's political training school:
I have heard it said that truth is beauty, and beauty truth.

Though my artistic judgments have landed me in trouble of late, I will venture that the adage is hereby proven wrong.

Image courtesies:
Top: Tokyo Shimbun
Middle: Jiji Press
Bottom: TV Asahi

1 comment:

kamo said...

"Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming."

Not to cast aspersions on your good self, of course, but I felt a quote from Wilde would be appropriate. Looks like that portrait has been hidden in the attic for a fair old while already...