The Tokyo Shimbun has some of the most easy-to-parse editorial cartoons in the mediasphere of this blessed land.
However, May 5th's cartoon deserves a special exercise in exegesis.
The manga is the recreation of the teary retirement scenes from girls groups covered by the wide shows and sometimes even make the serious newscasts. The most prominent of these recent retirements was the "graduation" of Maeda Atsuko from the mega-group AKB48.
Here the girl's group name GNP54 -- the GNP standing for GeNPatsu, the contraction for genshiryokuhatsuden = nuclear power station (the cartoonist, after a suggestion from perhaps an exasperated editor, has an aside that GNP here does not mean "Gross National Product" as it normally would) and the 54 the number of nuclear power plants in this blessed land.
The ceremony here is the retirement of the GNP54's final member, Tomari Harako (there is a pun involving her personal name but I will try to keep this simple). Tomari notes the irony of her family name, which is a homophone of "where it stops." With a smile, however, she declares, "But I can be back!" -- which is met by rustling, scattered boos and expressions of surprise. Through her tears she shouts, "But, but with all your support, I can, all the other members can..." -- which rather than being greeted with cheering is met with silence. "Oh, so that's it..." she concludes, allowing the microphone to drop from her hand, the spotlight leaving her face and contracting into a fadeout.
What sets this editorial cartoon apart from any other we may have recently seen?
The Tokyo Shimbun put it dead center on its front page.
We're not gonna take it...
We're not gonna take it...*
Image courtesies: Tokyo Shimbun