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Friday, April 16, 2010

Tachiagare Nihon! The new "Sunrise Party of Japan"



Another new political party has just been launched in Japan, on April 10, called (sweetly) in English, the “Sunrise Party,” but (somewhat more gruffly) in Japanese “Tachiagare Nihon,” or “Japan, Get Up!”/“Japan, Awake!”

It is fronted by former members of the Liberal Democratic Party that recently lost its decades-long hold on power to the Democratic Party of Japan (which also contains many ex-LDP members!). The five National Diet representatives who are members of the newly founded Tachiagare Nihon party have an average age of almost 70.

A survey of 1,037 people carried out by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper a few days ago revealed that only 18% of them held out any hope for the new party, while 76% “expected nothing” from it. This is marginally better than the respondents’ expectations of the newly ruling DPJ, which were 15% hopeful, 83% “expecting nothing.”

Tachiagare Nihon (“Sunrise Party”) was a name dreamed up by none other than the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, and has been attracting its share of ridicule in the blogosphere not least because its gung-ho name sits oddly with the ages of its members. The two front men of the party, Kaoru Yosano and Takeo Hiranuma, being 71 and 70 years old.

Yosano and Hiranuma are conservative career politicians born into Japan’s ruling elite, and associated for most of their careers with the LDP. Both have held more than one ministerial position in the past, Yosano three times, and Hiranuma four times, plus numerous other positions of high responsibility in government.

The odd contrast between the wizened protagonists and the name of their party has pressed the button of a lot of bloggers who picked up instantly on the sexual overtones of the name.

The word “tachiagare” (“get up”) is rendered in the phonetic hiragana script, which the founders decided had a more modern look to it than having it in Chinese characters. In doing so they have opened it up to double entendre. tachi, written as 立ち or 起ち, means “arising, getting up," but written as 勃ち means “having an erection.” Thus a bloggers’ field day.

The photo at the top of the two founders, along with another Nihon Tachiagare member, Diet member Hiroyuki Sonoda (68), sleeping soundly during parliamentary proceedings sums up the general perception of the party.

Finally, a sample of Japanese blogger parodies:

抱きしめて日本 dakishimete Nihon (“Hold me, Japan.”)
口づけて日本 kuchizukete Nihon (“Kiss me, Japan.”)
胸揉んで日本 munemonde Nihon (“Fondle my breasts, Japan.”)
服脱がせ日本 fukunugase Nihon (“Undress me, Japan.”)
きれいだよ日本 kirei da yo, Nihon (“I'm gorgeous, I am, Japan.”)
そろそろいいかい日本 sorosoro ii kai, Nihon (“So let’s get down to it, Japan.”)
あれどうした日本 are doushita, Nihon (“Huh? What’s the matter, Japan?")
たちあがれ日本  tachiagare Nihon (“Get it up, Japan.")
たちあがれ日本  tachiagare Nihon (“Get it up, Japan.")
たちあがれ日本!! tachiagare Nihon (“Get it up, Japan!!")
たってくれよ日本!!! tatte kure yo, Nihon (“Would you please get it the hell up, Japan!!!)


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