Jesus in action!

One of the more fun fixtures in Japanese politics is Jesus Matayoshi, a fellow who’s kind of like a lovable combination of Lyndon LaRouche and that guy from Heaven’s Gate. As his name indicates, he claims to be God: he can occasionally be spotted cruising around Tokyo shrieking out of a speaker truck when he’s campaigning (unsuccessfully) for a seat in the Diet.

While trying to explain his phenomenon to my lady-friend, I stumbled upon this wonderful clip from YouTube, showing one of his official election speeches. (Unfortunately, it’s only in Japanese, with no subtitles.) It starts off slow, so if you’re in a hurry you should skip forward to the last minute or so, where he lets loose his money quotes: “Koizumi should cut his belly and die!” and “I, the One God Jesus Matayoshi, will cast Koizumi into the depths of Hell!” Gotta love the kabuki voice, too.

After seeing this, Barack Obama is just not that interesting…

Kabuki Spreads to the White House

Our latest Kabuki Alert come from Wonkette:

White House Kabuki: The Administration Reacts to the SCOTUS

The Bush Administration’s preliminary reactions to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld are in — and they’re not terribly exciting or surprising.

At a press conference earlier today with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, President Bush got peppered with questions about the decision. Pretty much every non-Asian journalist in the room asked about Hamdan. Bush said that “we take them [the Supreme Court] very seriously.” Glad to hear it; so do we. He also stated that “we will conform to the Supreme Court.” Nothing controversial there.

So the definition of “political kabuki” in this blog post seems to be “reacting to a Supreme Court decision while a Japanese politician is in the room.” We’ve seen it earlier defined as “a meaningless horse and pony show debate in Congress” and “putting off tough fiscal policy decisions to protect one’s legacy as Japan’s reformist PM.” Let’s nail it down people: Just what is “political kabuki”? And where did the term come from?

More Kabuki PLUS – Blast and Slam: My two favorite news cliches

I hereby present my dear readers with yet another example of the growing usage of “kabuki” as a political metaphor for either boring deliberations or carefully calculated horse-and-pony shows (if I may use one cliche to explain another). This was linked to on the front page of

The Full Kabuki: Everybody’s happy, nothing changes.
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 6:36 AM ET

The Full Kabuki: On immigration, the stage is set for a classic Washington stalemate in which all the actors–at least the Republican actors–get to position themselves as advocating their desired brand of bold action, and nothing gets done. … As Charles Peters has written, in Washington, “Make Believe = Survival.”

I don’t really remember kabuki having many happy endings. Someone needs to decide on a real definition for “political kabuki” or perhaps just officially ban the term from public discourse. It’s lame!

What’s never lame, however, is the use of the words “blast” and “slam” over and over again in headlines to describe any kind of criticism. I mean, it does get a little stale, but I still get a kick out of shouting SLAM!!! whenever I read that a think tank isn’t into Bush’s tax plan. And remember what Slate’s Jack Shafer said: “If journalists weren’t allowed to recycle headlines every 10 years they’d run out of them.”

Here are some fun examples from recent news:

  • Ugly apartments SLAMMED into the stone age!
  • An artist's impression of Jurys Inn at Kings Dock

    Experts slam Kings Dock hotel design

    Apr 5 2006

    By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo

    TWO hotels earmarked for Liverpool’s Kings Dock have come under fire from architecture experts.

    The three-star-plus Jurys Inn and smaller Staybridge boutique hotel are dubbed “disappointing” and “not convincing”.

  • Moby BLASTS xenophobia with his techno-laser-glasses!
  • Continue reading More Kabuki PLUS – Blast and Slam: My two favorite news cliches