Positive factor – the Miyake Yohei Movement: Politically aware younger generation and their eager anticipation for change

Miyake Yohei ( recommended by Green Party: picture left ) and Taro Yamamoto ( from his own party : picture right ) are the 2 most significant individuals running the campaign for the current ongoing upper house election, at least for those who really want to bring real change in Japan’s politics. This charismatic combo, both still in their 30’s, have been gaining massive support among the major cities’ youth and green conscious voters since they teamed up. Yamamoto, an ex actor and well known icon from last year’s anti-nuke movement in Tokyo ( which gathered 170,000 ~ 200,000 demonstrators in front of the prime minister’s residence and surrounded diet building) narrowly lost to the LDP (Jimin-to / The Liberal Democratic Party, They ruled Japan for 55 years in post war years and is responsible for having built 54 nuke plants all over Japan ) in last December’s lower-house election. But this time even the mainstream media are reporting that he may grab a seat as their campaign draws more and more crowd and buzz. 

And his campaign partner Miyake is a musician who’s just launched a political career. He’s probably less well known than Yamamoto for the majority of Japan, but his words and sharp message, passionate speeches and casual look ( t- shirt and cap for the campaign, often barefoot and playing guitar on-stage when speaking ) is very unusual for a political campaign in Japan. It spread rapidly on the internet and twitter, cultivating an army of followers in less than 3 months.

Artists, musicians, writers and all sorts of people who oppose the LDP participated as volunteers for the campaign of this young man with Che Guevara style beard and beret. The most remarkable effect they’ve created in this election is the fact they’ve awoken so many youths who’ve previously never had a desire to get involved in the politic process before, making them come out for the campaign and encourage others to also vote for the first time. But Miyake also needs to make a big leap from being just a counter-culture hero if he wants to reach millions of conservative Japanese and win a seat. And as Miyake stated in his speech in front of Shibuya station last week, it doesn’t matter if he wins or loses in the end, because ” it will be a tiny part of this big transition process of this country. I’m simply here to declare that transition has already started, and change will be inevitable”.

Text by Cozi Till

07/20/2013 – 14:19


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