• Japan, USA
  • 120
  • STC

First-time candidate and political virgin Yamauchi Kazuhiko is running for a vacant seat on Kawasaki’s city council. Backed by the well-established Liberal Democratic Party and endorsed by Prime Minister Koizumi, he should have the election in the bag. But does he? Campaign chronicles this coin and stamp collector’s bumbling efforts to cultivate a charismatic image, and learn the political ropes with the help of increasingly exasperated “senseis.” Yamauchi’s enthusiasm is palpable and also laughable as he makes earnest megaphone speeches to empty subway stations, deserted residential neighourhoods and passing cars. Slowly, the novelty of seeing himself on election posters wears off, as he perfects proper handshake technique and becomes absorbed into party hierarchy. An hilarious vérité look at the political strategies, values and traditions at play in Japanese municipal politics through the eyes of an idealistic innocent. Angie Driscoll.

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