Japanese Political Parties Use Manga to Pull in Young Voters
posted on by Amanda Ellard
Japanese political parties, most notably the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) currently in power and its junior coalition partner Komeito, started producing manga to promote their policies, improve their images and expand their support. Considering the fact that the upcoming national election on July 10 is the first of its kind in which 18-year-olds can vote, it is not surprising that these parties are utilizing media that is popular with high school and college-age consumers for their campaigns.
The LDP created advertisements such as a brochure titled "Kuni ni Todoke" (Notify the Country), a play on words off the title of the popular girls' manga Kimi ni Todoke, with an accompanying poster based off that manga, and a manga titled Honobono-Ikka no Kenpo-Kaiseitte Nani? (A warm family's "What are the constitutional revisions?"), which calls into question the usefulness of a constitution written by Americans.
While "Kuni ni Todoke" was heavily criticized online for "lacking depth", the person in charge of the ad stated that the point was “to get people interested in politics.” In a hope to both familiarize people with the party and sway independent voters, a stance more prominent among these new, younger participants, the LDP's Komeito created a mascot called "Komesuke," who is downloadable in a game app where players learn about the party's policies through role-play adventure games. Komesuke costumes have been spotted at speeches, as well.
Smaller opposition parties, such as the New Renaissance Party and the Assembly to Energize Japan, are using their own mascot characters and manga to try and gain seats in this upcoming election. However, other opposition parties, such as the Democratic Party, Initiatives from Osaka and the Social Democratic Party, have no plans so far to use manga in their election campaigns.
There have been other cases of political manga in the past from the comedic personification of Japan's political parties in Seitō Kijinka Seitō-tan (Seitō-tan, Political Parties Personified) to the serious political commentary of award-winning manga Monster.
Source: South China Morning Post