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Evangelion Otaku, Former Viz Lawyer Wins Election in Japan

posted on by Egan Loo
Hidehiro Mitani quotes Shinji, gave up rare Miku figure to show his commitment

36-year-old lawyer Hidehiro Mitani of Minna no Tō ("Your Party") won the 480th and final seat in the Japanese legislature in this week's national elections. He did not win in the Tokyo's 5th district, but he still earned a seat in the proportional block of the legislature, since his party garnered enough votes overall.

Mitani learned of his victory on Monday at 5:00 a.m. — nine hours after the ballot counting began. "Many supporters were waiting for the results, so I was so worried, imagining if I could not live up to their expectations. I was [at my campaign headquarters], paraphrasing [Evangelion anime's] Shinji Ikari, 'I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away.'"

Mitani graduated from the prestigious University of Tokyo in 2000 and then graduated from the law school at The University of Washington in 2007. He worked at the North American manga and anime company Viz Media from 2007 to 2008. He also lectured at Chuo University and now serves as an associate in TMI Associates.

A self-confessed anime otaku, Mitani said that he has around 100 figures. ”To show my determination to my wife, who was against my idea of throwing away a secure life and running as a candidate, I got rid of figures which were 'more important than life itself.'" He looked back, saying, "It was a pain to get rid of the rare one, Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid), which I cherished above all. […] Compared to that, it was no sweat worrying about the last undecided seat until the end."

During the campaign, he slept an average of three hours a day. He said, "I stopped watching anime, or rather I had no time to think about it." However, on Monday evening after his victory, he immediately bought a figure in Tokyo's Akihabara district. "I seriously think that anime will save Japan. With this destined seat I received through figures I gave up, I will try to do what I can, working my way up from the very bottom."

Source: Sports Nippon

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