Who knew Ibaraki was so punk?

Having gone through the festive New Year’s period, which in western countries means a rowdy New Year’s Eve party or in Japan a bonenkai (end of year party) and shinnenkai (beginning of year party), many of us around the world have probably had more than our fill of alcohol.

And with that comes the clumsy and embarrassing behavior that comes with getting blackout drunk. I could regale you with shameful anecdotes like the time I drunkenly dared to criticize the works of Chaucer, or that one time I accidentally played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D minor in a booze-induced haze.

But this year, a drunken screw-up so glorious occurred that it put my own wild past to shame. In a post on his own Facebook page, Hideo Horie typed out the message “Mito sucks! Die!” in regards to Mito City, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture.

▼ Mito was the site of our first eating battle against professional competitive eater Sachiyo Masubuchi


Normally, such an outburst would only be worthy of a few snickers and an occasional “Oh, that Hideo!” But when you’re the head of the marketing strategy department for Ibaraki Prefecture — like Horie is — the impact flies off the charts.

He later commented on his own words saying, “I was drinking and can’t remember. I don’t know why I wrote that. I regret it.”

Interestingly, despite expressing regret, he didn’t really apologize at all for the remarks which have since gone viral and opened the debate over whether or not Mito in fact sucks.

“He’s certainly not the first person to say that.”
“I live here and he’s not wrong. Mito and Ibaraki have serious problems.
“As a fan of natto I take offense to that.”
“It’s a pretty serious thing to make people lose faith in their prefecture. I hope he is punished.”
“Maybe it’s a reverse psychology thing.”
“Is he really talking about the place? It could have been a person named Mito.”
“They say one’s true feelings come out when they’re drunk.”

Personally, I’ve never been to Mito and can’t really say how it is. All I know is it doesn’t have any monkeys and is one of the nation’s leading producer of natto, the sticky, smelly fermented soy bean dish. Whether those things “suck” or “rule” is really a matter of personal taste.

Perhaps this promotional video for the city will shed some light on the issue:

Well, that was downright delightful! I don’t know what anyone is talking about.

By the way, that yurukyara mascot was Mito-chan and her pig-tailed hair is actually a pack of natto bundled in straw as it is traditionally done, because the straw contains the bacteria which aids the fermentation.


Back to Horie, his “Die!” punctuation in his message is especially interesting. It’s not an uncommon term in internet Japanese and normally isn’t quite as murderous sounding as it is in English. It’s more along the lines of “go to hell,” or “go f*** yourself.”

On the other hand, another Facebook post from 2013 reveals that Horie had a bar with the slogan “Drink Beer or Die” which suggests that “die” might just be his own playful catchphrase.

In the end, even if your job is to promote something totally awesome like Megaburgerpizza, if you have to do it every day, you’re going to grow to resent it at least a little and need to vent.

And in doing so in such a public way, he put his prefecture’s capital on the top page of the national news. You can’t beat publicity like that! So hopefully his superiors don’t come down too hard on him for this little outburst.

Source: Yomiuri Online, Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/Mito-shi