You may have missed this little tidbit from the tail end of last week -- but Democratic Party of Japan leader Kaieda Banri revealed at a press conference that he chants sutras to quell his anger, such as the rage he felt at Hirano Tatsuo’s defection. (Link – J)
As a general principle, there is nothing wrong with revealing one engages in religious practice as a means of handling stress. However, one has to choose the right venue. Had Kaieda told a gathering of the Japan Buddhist Federation of his chanting, both believers and non-believers could accept the revelation. Believers could take heart in Kaieda's confession of need and his subsequent sense of deliverance while non-believers could say, “Oh c'mon...Kaieda is just fishing for Buddhist votes."
By talking about his religious practice at a general press conference, Kaieda leaves no space for the cynics to breathe. They have to take him seriously...and Amaterasu knows they do not want to.
I agree with those who argue that Kaieda is in a difficult position, hemmed in between a largely hostile news media, a fashionably irresponsible Liberal Democratic Party, the crazies and flunkies of the Japan Renewal Association and the DPJ’s own cohort of DINOs who acquiesced to Kaieda's election as party leader only because a) they themselves ran the party into the ground in 2012 and b) Kaieda will have to resign after the party gets wiped out in the House of Councillors election this summer.
That being said, Kaieda does himself and the DPJ no favors. He simply seems unaware of how his behavior is seen by a mocking press, his peers and the public.
However, for writers in need of a cheesy opening to a story about the downfall of the DPJ -- "They thought that the party didn’t have a prayer...but boy were they ever wrong!" – Kaieda is a godsend.
[Cue the starts-out-with-sweet-but-slightly-embarrassing-sincerity-ends-in-Spike-Milligan devotional music from George Harrison.]