But enough of that. What prompted me to blog today is the latest example of the gaijin media’s “Japanese conservative”stereotype:
Known for his conservative views, he has advocated a tough line towards North Korea and rejects changing the law to allow women to ascend the throne.Now compare it with my version:
He is also seen as a charismatic figure who is known to love Japanese manga cartoons.
Known for his liberal views, he has advocated giving up half of Japan’s claims to the Northern Territories currently occupied by Russia and rejects leaving the Class-A War criminal enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine.And I haven’t even mentioned that Mr. Aso has suggested giving in to opposition demands to drop the counterterrorist refueling operations by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Indian Ocean. Or that he’s chummy with the pacifist New Komeito.
He is also seen…
Now, I admit that my alternative profile is just as anecdotal and subjective as the BBC one. In fact, Mr. Aso happens to be an eclectic grab-bag of a variety of views that make it hard to contain him in an ideologically convenient pigeonhole. For better or worse, he does his own thinking. If that makes him inconsistent, he is comfortable with his inconsistency. That sense of self-confidence comes through when he—rather freely—expresses his views, and is a big part of his charm. (Would any other politician other than… maybe Taizou Sugimura… admit to reading two, three manga books a day?)
People who have been reading my blog know that I am no fan of Mr. Aso. But they also know that I condemn this and other examples of the uncritical acceptance and perpetuation by the English-language mainstream media of a monotone stereotype that paints everybody from Junichiro Koizumi to Shoichi Nakagawa with a single broad brushstroke.