- @satoshi_shima / @coshina / Togetter / @moritty2 / @Dethtooldo
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The Japanese campaign trail has a bit of a stale formula with a few tried and true traditions. Politicians ride around town in speaker-equipped trucks, asking for support and giving and promoting themselves. They also plaster their faces around town on poster boards, sometimes with shared candidates, featuring simple slogans such as "Take back Japan", like this:
To most, this is just the unfortunately necessary sea of monotony that comes with the game of politics. But for Satoshi Shima, a 9-year member of the Japanese parliament running for the position of Mikawa representative in Tokyo, this is a chance to stand out among the stern and promising faces by campaigning with a mysterious giant white cat on his posters.
Shima's poster features both a subtly placed cat, as well as a jarringly enormous version of the white feline in the background. The slogan translates to "I've come home," which would normally be Shima's line, but we are just as willing to attribute it to the giant cat. In the Tweet above, Shima explains that the white cat posters are a rarity spread among his posters all over the country, and that those who find the cat versions will be brought good luck and happiness. The giant cat posters are and even bigger rarity, perhaps making them the ultimate lucky charm.
The cat has even made it onto the side of his official campaign car.
It's a cute and rather clever publicity stunt in the mundane routine of Japanese politics, but the popularity of the posters has led to some confusion, and in a recent tweet Shima posted as the cat, and had to clarify that he, and not the cat, was the actual candidate. In it he uses cat-like speech, parodies Natsume Soseki's famous novel I Am a Cat, and introduces the cat as "Shima-nyan" (nyan is the Japanese equivalent of "meow").