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Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara Projected to Win 4th Term

posted on by Egan Loo
Former novelist advocated more "harmful publication" restrictions on anime, manga

The Japanese public broadcaster NHK projects that Shintaro Ishihara will win his fourth term as the governor of the Tokyo metropolis on Sunday. The ballot-counting has not yet begun, but NHK is basing its projections on exit polls.

Ishihara has served as the governor of Tokyo since 1999. Before he served as a legislator and then governor, Ishihara launched his writing career at the age of 23 with Season of the Sun (Taiyō no Kisetsu), a 1955 novel with mature themes. The novel inspired a 1956 live-action film, a 1986 animated special which Central Park Media released in North America, and a 2002 live-action television mini-series. He also contributed to the story of the Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection anime film.

Ishihara is a major advocate of Tokyo's amended Youth Healthy Development Ordinance; the amendment is expanding the number of manga and anime that fall under "harmful publications," the legal category of works that must not be sold or rented to people under the age of 18. He also serves the head of the executive committee for the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF); Ishihara's stance on the ordinance amendment led to a boycott of the fair by 10 major publishers of manga.

Ishihara has a history of saying controversial comments, including his complaint that "we've got homosexuals casually appearing even on television." Ishihara made that comment last December during the debate over the amendment to the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance.

Ishihara then commented last month that the March 11 tsunami was "divine punishment" for Japan's "selfishness." Yutaka Yamamoto, the director of the Fractale and Kannagi anime, had responded by saying that no divine punishment would indiscriminately affect innocent people and that Ishihara was not qualified to characterize Japan. Ishihara later apologized for his comment.

Update: More background information added.

Update 2: Ishihara's projected re-election prompted illustrator Aoi Nishimata (Final Approach, Lovedol ~Lovely Idol~, Shuffle!, Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai) to write on Twitter that she is leaving Tokyo and moving out. She then half-jokingly discussed various other areas of Japan that she might consider. She later added that she will first do her best in Tokyo, and will move if things worsen. (Many prefectures of Japan have Youth Healthy Development Ordinances that are as strict as Tokyo's, if not stricter.) [Via Hachima Kikō]

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