Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru, also known as comedian, writer, and TV personality Sonomanma Higashi, has his eyes set on following his stint in Kyushu with becoming the next governor of Tokyo. He announced his official candidacy this week.
Incumbent Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who loves a good (or bad) soundbite, continues to be criticized for flippant comments about every topic under the sun. He has recently apologized for saying that the earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region were acts of God, but that is just his latest gaff. He has also tried to limit the kinds of manga and anime available in his jurisdiction. American may remember him best as the author of the book “The Japan That Can Say No”, and also for racist and homophobic comments. He has also made a lot of controversial moves as governor of Tokyo including the creation of the controversial Shinginko Tokyo Bank in 2004. The 78 year old politician has had a long career as a writer and even actor, but Higashikokubaru may be the first to actual be able to challenge him in the race.
Higashikokubaru is also very close with Takeshi Nakano, also known as Beat Takeshi, the venerable tv personality and acclaimed filmmaker who has been quite critical of the government and media in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake.
Higashikokubaru has recently made comments about this saying he would not want there to be the same kind of laws about manga and anime.
It sounds a lot like he is setting himself up to go against Ishihara, and has already set the PR machine in motion to that effect. Higashikokubaru is very popular now in Miyazaki and the people of the prefecture credit him with improving the life and infrastructure down there.