Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Hippies to the Elections

From cosplay to hentai sub-culture, Japan has it all. But a cult running for the elections? I've to admit I didn't see that coming.

I first heard of it yesterday when I was on my way back from my grocery shopping. They had a van running around in the neighbourhood. The loudspeaker played the same message ad nauseum, breaking the ennui of a lazy summer afternoon. But when your brain has gotten used to the yaki-imo vans and the recycling trucks, it doesn't take any effort to ignore loudspeaker vans of other sorts.

The candidate running for the general elections waved at the passerby's, "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!"

Not that I'll get to vote this August 30. But so as not to appear rude, I smiled and nodded at her. That's when I caught a glimpse at the name - Happiness Realization Party.

From what I know, whatever organization - political or non-political - that promises "happiness" is fishy. However when I thought the name sounded cultish, little did I know I wasn't far from right, until I saw the news article about the party this afternoon.

Obviously, Happiness Realization Party's leader, "Master" Okawa is a poor deluded soul. He claimed to have been warned by Kim Jong Il's guardian spirit about North Korea's plan to nuke Japan. And among other things, he's also a seer, who communed with Muhammad, Christ, Buddha, Confucius and Mozart for political advices.

And oh, one more, one more! "Master" Okawa also believes his wife is the reincarnation of Aphrodite. But, nah, that's nothing new. I call my girlfriend a Greek goddess too.

Come to think of it, the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) coalition partner, New Komeito, is also backed by a religious organization, namely Soka Gakkai - a controversial Buddhist sect. (They're also the ones who built the black pyramid next to Tokyo Tower.)

The party pledges to bring in more foreigners, which will be a welcomed change to Japan's strict immigration policies. But if you look at the rest of the party's manifesto, it sounds just too scary. The amendment of the Ninth Constitution and the strengthening of the Japanese army? Incorporating religion into all aspects of life? And heck, it even went as far as proclaiming itself as being a "political party based on religion".

And just in case you're wondering, they call their religion Happy Science. Sounds gay. Almost too hippie.

Right. After manga otaku Prime Minister, Aso Taro, all Japan needs is a deluded hippie. What's coming of the nation?

I wouldn't bat an eyelid if Osama runs for the elections.

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