Excitement was in the air all over Tokyo as the votes for regional elections to council seats were talli–hey where are you going!?

Sure, local politics aren’t all that electrifying aside from the occasional eccentrics who throw their shark-tooth necklaces into the ring. But it’s also sometimes the place where small but inspiring stories of success can happen.

Such is the case with Minoru Ogino who was recently elected to Ōta Ward (aka Ōta City) or Ōta-Ku in Japanese. It’s a fitting district to win in as Assemblyman Ogino is Love-Live-lovin’ Kankore sailing otaku himself.

■ Otaku through and through

Ogino wouldn’t be the first representative with otaku leanings, and there may be other closeted otaku serving the public. However, Ogino is possibly the first successful openly otaku politician in Japan.

His resume lists achievements such as participating at doujin circles at Comiket and distributing a fan-fiction based on Fujiwara no Mokou from Touho Project. Although politicians have visited events like Comiket before to curry favor, this may be the first time a Comiket attendee has crossed over the other way into politics.

■ Pressing the flesh

▼ “Ogino campaign headquarters, the signs were really difficult to put up”

Based on that description, you might think that Minoru Ogino was just another fringe candidate who got lucky. That couldn’t be further from the truth though, as Ogino spent the time leading up to the election making himself as visible as possible in the community and getting his name out there.

He made the appearances at the local fire hall and met with kids at schools for photo ops. He got the van decorated with slogans and made speeches in the street as any would-be assemblyman might. But it was his otaku background that really set him apart from the heard.

■ Manga campaign

Many are accrediting Ogino’s success to his use of manga in campaign literature. Rather than the word-heavy newspaper style pamphlets of other politicians, Ogino stylized his promises in the form of moe-girl-heavy comics.

▼ All of Ogino’s campaign manga can be viewed on his website.

Ogino said in an interview that the manga was a way to separate himself from the other candidates, but the strategy was savvier than that. He keenly noticed that a lot of time people hand out fliers on the street it’s often children who take them. By decorating his platform with cute characters he likely spared hundreds of fliers a quick trip to the trash bin.

Also by posting in the mailboxes of homeowners he can appeal to the crops of 30 and 40-year-olds who grew up with manga and may feel a subconscious attraction, even if they aren’t deep enough into it to be familiar with the works of Seiji Matsuyama and Takeshi Nogami who helped to produce the fliers.

■ Life in government

After getting elected, Ogino tweeted about his win and showed us some of the cool stuff local representatives get.

▼ “The winners’ meeting and ceremony finished. The term of office will begin next month but I got my badge. Once again I begin to doubt myself. I’ll do my best to repay the trust that you people have put in me.”

▼ “My winning certificate…”

▼ “Assembly members get free car and bicycle parking. Just stick this pass on the car’s license plate, or stick it to your bicycle and you get free parking for a year. I’m going to use it on my bicycle because I don’t have a car or a motorbike. I’ll go to assembly on my chari [Mama’s Chariot: a type of unstylish, utilitarian bicycle associated with busy mothers].”

His major campaign promises were to cut government spending and focus more on childcare efforts. However, that doesn’t mean he is abandoning his roots.

Ogino is ambitious to raise the reputation of Ōta to the international level through Japanese sub-cultures like cosplay and dojinshi. He hopes to make these types of events flourish and bring in valuable tourist revenue. He will be attending most of these events around Ōta himself because he knows well that a politician should always be among the people they serve.

Of course, he’d probably be there anyway.

Minoru Ogino

Source: Niconico News via My Game News Flash (Japanese)