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Japan: Obama gets support from Japanese city

(This is article is crossposted on Voices without Votes)

Excitement is growing in a sleepy fishing town on the coast of the Japan Sea. The city of Obama, whose name means “little beach” in Japanese, is receiving unusual attention for its coincidental resemblance to the name of a certain US presidential candidate.

Obama merchandise, from T-shirts to manju to chopsticks with Obama's face printed on them, is sold at local shops and posters are put up at every corner of the city. On Super Tuesday, a volunteer group that supports Obama organized a “public viewing” event, attended by about 300 residents wearing their Obama T-shirts and headbands. Adding to the excitement, the mayor of Obama received a letter from the Senator expressing appreciation for their support.

A blogger [Ja] shares the city's excitement:

It is quite a surprise that a letter addressed to the city arrived from [Senator] Obama.
Even though it was for the support that came from a place that has no influence [on the election].

It shows Mr. Obama's greatness as a person.
I think it marks a huge difference [between him] and another person who is competing using her husband's achievements and name value.

On the other hand, many bloggers have expressed critical views and pointed out that the candidate's policy does not seem to matter to the Japanese Obama “campaign” and it lacks political sensitivity.

stoyachi writes:

とはいえ、オバマ氏の政治手腕は未知数。日本に対してどのような政策を実行するのかもわかりませんね。

Having said that, Obama's skills in politics are unknown. We don't even know what kind of policy he would implement for Japan.

One of the users of a news BBS commented expressing their critical opinion:

この選挙に対する選挙権もないわけで、ただのお祭り騒ぎと傍観していてもよいかもしれません。

しかし、小浜市民の全員がオバマ氏を支持しているわけでもないだろうし、ましてや税金使って応援グッズを贈ったり、「市長」自らが「健闘を祈りたい」ということには、違和感を覚えます。

Because they don't have the voting rights in this election, maybe it's ok for them to party and be onlookers.

However, I don't think all the people of Obama City support Mr. Obama, and not only that, spending tax money on sending merchandise, and the mayor himself wishing [Obama] good luck — I think there's something wrong about this.

オバマ氏は、米国の将来を決める大統領になるため、自らの信念を掲げて立候補しているわけで。
米国民の生活がかかっているわけですよね。責任重大です。
なのに、日本のある行政機関が、そのオバマ氏の主張や主義を認めて応援するのではなく、単に「音」が一緒だから応援するというのは、ヘンじゃないでしょうか?

Mr. Obama is running the campaign diplaying his belief in order to become a president who will determine the future of the US.
American people's lives are at stake. It's a great responsibility.
Despite this, isn't it strange that one administrative body supports [Obama] just because the name sounds the same, not because they agree with Mr. Obama's message and principles?

Although not entirely critical, this blogger provides a cynical view:

ポリシーなど何もなく、節操がない様な気もするが、これはこれで良いのでは。オバマ氏が大統領になったとしても、小浜市を訪れることはないと思うけど、地方都市が(ヤケッパチ(?)でも)元気を出しているのは今どき悪いことではない。小浜市には小浜さんという名字の方もたくさん居るのだろう。一方、日本には「くりんとん市」は無い。「ヒラリーの涙」と名付けたワインが出回ることもないだろう。名前を聞いただけで「超辛口」で飲む気がしない。

There seems to be no policy and no principle but I guess this is OK. Even if Obama becomes president, I don't think he will ever visit the city of Obama, it's not a bad thing that a rural city is picking up and has so much energy in this day and age. There must be a lot of poeple whose family name is Obama in Obama City. On the other hand, there is no city called “Kurinton (Clinton)” in Japan. I guess there will never be wine named “Clinton's Tears”. The name alone makes me not want to drink it as it sounds “super dry”.

3 comments

  • woods

    I served in the U.S Air Force 36th Intelligence SQ of the Air Intelligence Agency @ Langley AFB, VA. I am an African American w/ a bi-racial daughter. I am a supporter of the Democratic Party. My father was Special Forces in Vietnam and he is in love with the Clintons. I am still unsure which Democrat to vote for because the proper extraction of U.S. and Allied forces
    is my main concern. I still have “buddies” in harms way.

  • woods

    I am impressed by the critical comments of the Japanese bloggers. I think that if the United States is serious about spreading “Peace n Democracy,” We should consider what other international observers think. Especially if we have had conflict, war, and “democratic rebuilding” within that country the observer came from. They are speaking from experience. Can i get an “AMEN!!” Japan or what…be honest with me..i promise i won’t cry if you guys are harsh on me.

  • woods

    As I said before, I am still undecided. I sure as hell refuse to vote Republican because I no longer feel I can trust them….they already have money…why should they share it with the rest of us. It is normal human behavior, no matter how childish it may seem. They have always been wealthy. To them … We, the working class have no right to question their “Way of Life.” If my history is correct, the Confederates of the Southern states made this same argument some time ago. There is nothing wrong with persuit of happiness, so long as u don’t hurt others in the process.

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