Illustration for article titled Political Candidate Uses Anime Cosplay In Campaign, Apologizes
Screenshot: 後藤輝樹
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Whenever there are elections in Japan, candidates put up posters with their names and slogans. One Tokyo political hopeful named Teruki Goto added cosplay, dressing up as Lelouch from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.

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On the poster, his slogan reads, “I, Teruki Goto, command that you vote for me.”

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(Note: I once interviewed Takafumi Horie, the candidate in the poster next to Goto’s.)

We’ve seen cosplay and Japanese politics merge several times before.

This time, however, the anime company responsible for the character Goto was cosplay as didn’t exactly seem thrilled. Sunrise issued a press release stating that it had “nothing to do” with the cosplaying candidate.

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Perhaps, that’s for the best! Goto seems to be a minor, stunt candidate in the Tokyo governor’s race. I’m not sure if Goto’s serious or this is some kind of performance art? Is he actually far-right or taking the piss? I really don’t know. Japanese politics do get oddball candidates, who have no chance of winning, but often seem to run as a gag.

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These are posted in public!

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Goto has run nine times (yes, nine times) and lost. The candidate’s other campaign posters were also unusual, and Goto recently gave a campaign speech for broadcast, as all candidates do, but with several attempts to slip in the Japanese word for “penis,” which had to be bleeped out.

This isn’t new for the serial candidate: In Goto’s 2016 campaign speech, NHK also censored the word for penis, but this gesture seems to have been aired.

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Illustration for article titled Political Candidate Uses Anime Cosplay In Campaign, Apologizes
Screenshot: 後藤輝樹

But after Sunrise’s latest statement denying any connection to the gubernatorial candidate, surprisingly, Goto issued an apology for his cosplay, writing, “I am sorry. I apologize for causing any trouble.” 

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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