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What's in a name? Mayor Yutaka Umeda will tell you "a lot", if you read it the right way.
Just a few days ago, Yutaka Umeda (73), would probably tell you his biggest claim to fame so far is residing as mayor of Yamato, a town of 15,000 in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan. However, the results of the 2020 United States Presidential Election, which saw former Vice President Joe Biden unseat incumbent Donald Trump have certainly changed that.
Umeda says that he was surprised to learn from his family that he's become somewhat of an internet sensation in Japan, The Sankei News reports, due to the fact that many have discovered that his name can alternatively be read as "Jo Baiden". He's also been greeted with many congratulations as the new President of the United States.
In Japanese, kanji can have several phonetic readings. The mayor's last name of 梅田 ("plum" and "rice field") are most commonly read as "Umeda", but can also be read as "Baiden". His first name of 穣 (Yutaka), however, is fairly regularly read as "Jo".
"I feel a sense of closeness to him. I feel as if I've won the election myself after hearing the news."
This isn't the first time a Japanese town has benefitted from a U.S. Presidential Election, however. When Barack Obama won the 2008 Election, the city of Obama in Fukui Prefecture began selling merchandise featuring the President's likeness to try and boost the area's tourism popularity.
"Obama Manju" (Japanese sweet dumplings)
Meanwhile, Mayor Umeda seems to have his eyes set on the same benefit. "The scale between being the President of a superpower like the United States and the mayor of Yamato is different, but I would like to think of ways to promote Yamato and gets others to know it better."
By - Big Neko.