Cute like a kitty, and also maybe crazy like a fox?

In contrast to the essentially two-party system of U.S. politics, elections in Japan see candidates from a large number of factions vying to occupy governmental seats. So in order to make sure their potential constituents recognize and remember them, most political hopefuls’ campaign posters consist of a large close-up of their dignified, confident faces, with their name splashed across the image in bold, clear script.

But while Aichi Prefecture-native Satoshi Shimaemployed both of those elements in his posters for this week’s House of Representatives election, he also added a pretty adorable wrinkle to the design.

Just to be clear, Shima isn’t a gigantic cat. He’s actually the smiling, mild-mannered-looking 58-year-old gentleman who appears along the right edge of the image. The kitty is Shima Nyan, the candidate’s unofficial spokesfeline.

While this might look like the brainchild of an inexperienced, first-time candidate, Shima is actually a political veteran who has served three terms in the House of Representatives, with his tenure lasting from 1996 to 2005. With the recent lowering of the voting age in Japan from 20 to 18, this week’s election was the first in which older teens could vote, and Shima wanted to create an interesting poster to catch their attention. Being a cat owner himself, he decided to incorporate one into his poster.

▼ Shima’s cat, Belle.

But rather than recruiting his own pet, Shima decided to employ a snowy white cat with a coat similar to that of the beloved dog that appears in commercials for mobile phone carrier SoftBank, where Shima previously held the position of executive secretary. The fact that Japanese politicians often campaign wearing unsullied white gloves, a metaphor for their purportedly pure, uncorrupted hearts, probably also played a part in Shima Nyan’s selection.

Unfortunately for Shima, his clever tactic was not enough to secure victory, as he failed to secure the post he was running for. As such, he’ll head back to teaching at Tokyo’s Tama University. The future of Tama Nyan’s political ambitions remains unknown.

Source: IT Media, Twitter/@satoshi_shima

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