Japanese political candidates can be a bit conservative, at least when it comes to the way they present themselves (if not the substance of their campaigns). Just a quick glance at the majority of posters which go up during election time will reveal a familiar pattern. A big face, a name, perhaps a colored background or a colored font here and there, a slogan and small text, and that's about it. There's usually not much to grab your attention. For example, here are a few posters from the 2014 Tokyo gubernatorial election:

Photo by Tomohisa Suna | © Flickr.com (CC by SA 2.0)

But once in a while, you'll see something radically different. Take, for example, 2020 Tokyo Gubernatorial Election candidate Teruki Goto, as you can see from this montage of posters from his past bids:

Teruki Goto is an iconoclastic figure. Many people question the seriousness of his candidacy, and it's not hard to see why. Describing himself as "sexual musician, political candidate, revolutionary, patriot, savior, charisma, weirdo, God, and founder of the Teruki Goto Religion," Goto is clearly not boring by any account.

A staunch nationalist who claims on his website that he wants to make Japan "the strongest, kindest, most interesting and happiest country in the world," he made quite a splash the last time he entered the race for Tokyo governor in 2016, with a campaign video which needed to be censored by national broadcaster NHK due to his continuous use of prohibited language, namely references to reproductive organs.

Four years later, he's at it again.

The video below, which already has more than a half-million views since it was posted on Thursday, eclipsing the page views of many of the other 20 candidates. It begins with a disclaimer that NHK needed to censor some of the language which was in violation of Japanese election laws stipulating that all political broadcasts must not be against public morals and order.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the speech was designed to shock viewers and pique their curiosity rather than actually convey an important political message. However, if you had to identify a platform which voters could understand in his ribald presentation which seemed to borrow heavily from Japanese comedy show skits, it would be addressing the problem of Japan's dwindling and greying population by encouraging procreation and sexual pleasure.

He also explains that this has added benefits of improving mental and physical health, which in turn, liberates politicians from stress and promotes better diplomatic ties: In other words, no more war, world peace, a strong and happy Japan.

At one point, he offers to provide his own "ultimate DNA" for women who want children. At the end, he tries to appeal to ecological themes, telling people that they need to stop hurting the environment, after which he throws plastic turds at the camera.

His focus, however, seems to have been almost exclusively on male pleasure, as he repeats words for the male appendage and the verb "shikoru," slang for masturbation. In one of the more startling moments of his ribald speech which created a buzz on social media, he says (in our approximate translation to keep it rhyming):

"We don't need guns which take life from people,
we need sexual organs which give life to people
Don't grab your gun, grab your manhood.
Forget the nuclear deterrent, just master your turret.
Continually release if you want peace."

Then, a bit later, he suddenly stands up and shouts: "Boys be shikolitious!" in a parody of the phrase: "Boys be ambitious" famously uttered to students in 1879 by the American advisor William S. Clark at the end of his tenure at the Sapporo Agricultural College.

You can view the video here:

And if that didn't make enough of an impact, it seems that the speech Goto made on live television the following evening on NHK was even more controversial. Here are a few screen captures posted by one surprised Twitter user:


According to an article in the Daily Shincho, although known for crazy visuals and wild performances such as this, Teruki Goto is "serious and sincere" on the campaign trail.

For example, as reported by the Japan Times, Goto attended a press conference earlier today at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan together with 14 other minor candidates in the Tokyo Gubernatorial Election. Here, he was fully clothed and refrained from using any foul language, but he still couldn't help showing his fondness for catchphrases. In reference to a phrase popularized by Akio Morita and Shintaro Ichihara's influential 1989 essay "The Japan That Can Say No," Goto vowed to cancel the Tokyo Olympics due to spiraling costs, concluding with: “All you have to do is say no. I’m the Japanese who can say no.”

What remains to see is if Goto's latest profanity-laden performance will inspire voters to say yes at the voting booth on July 5th.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.