Hmmm….I was assigned to write about “superheroes” in Japan. It doesn’t seem to be a custom any more to admire “superheroes” in Japan. Especially in the midst of an economic crisis Japanese people tend to lose their interest in the ones with supernatural powers: What the hell – superheroes? What are you talking about? Forget it! Yes, that’s right.
But let me dare to think about it….There is a famous Japanese superhero. There is! A Japanese superhero, fallen in disgrace with the Japanese, is former Finance Minister Nakagawa at the most recent G7 meeting in Rome. Have you seen this scene already? It was hilarious to me. But most Japanese, including politicians, are really furious about his behavior! But in Western media, this scene was televised so many times as a comedy show. He was shown as a “big surprise” from Japan. French President Sarkozy has been drunk at a big meeting before. Unlike Nakagawa however, Sarkozy got away with it. Do you know why? Because typical Japanese stereotypes are supposed to be always really serious and love to work, work, and work. But then what’s going on? One of the most famous Japanese politicians is sleeping at an important meeting because he got drunk by Sake?? (Actually, he drank too much wine.) This huge gap between perception and reality cracked them up. As a result, he became a comedian, although involuntarily. That was my impression about his incident. I still believe that he was a very good politician. He retired (or was forced to retire) after this incident. Nakagawa should address is health problems first as I have heard that he was suffering from poor health for years.
Ok, let’s talk about a good Japanese superhero. I would say that Japanese actor Motoki Masahiro (Nickname: Mokkun) is a good one, right? Have you seen Okuribito (English title: Departures)? This movie earned more than 50 awards, including this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Congratulations! Unfortunately, Masahiro is not really popular in Hollywood. Probably his beautiful Western face cannot catch their hearts. Westerns really love typical Asian faces like Lucy Liu, don’t they? No matter what, I really like his great performance. Mokkun – please keep going as a good Japanese superhero!