Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hashimoto Tweets Narratives, Not Soundbites

As abruptly as he left off tweeting as of July 17 in the wake of revelations about a sexual liaison during his successful career as a lawyer-TV personality, Mayor Toru Hashimoto resumed posting tweets, no explanation given (again), on the 26th. He appears to have returned to his prolific ways as well, with 21 tweets most recently available on the 30th. But if you think he spends an inordinate amount of time on his Twitter account, think again; 20 of those tweets comprise a single narrative. In fact, that’s what Hashimoto mostly uses Twitter for: write a mini-essay or and philippic, which he then uploads in 140 character-and-under chunks. A clever way to get his full story out there. The one other tweet on the 30th is also to the point, sort of, a self-deprecating response to a tweet-shoutout from a well-known neuroscientist and author who had come out in Hashimoto’s support on the Bunraku controversy. (The 20-tweet mini-essay is Hashimoto’s latest salvo on that subject, which at a glance appears to be sharing center stage of late with his battle against the municipal civil service.) He is as much a public intellectual engaged in the new domain as a political revolutionary exploiting the new medium. Keep that in mind when you look at the guy, and his relationship with the media.

I’ll try to find time to put something meaningful together on his Bunraku tweets; in fact, I’d been drafting a post, on and off, on the entire controversy but my work didn’t leave me enough energy to complete it. Now that his latest tweets are out there, I see that he makes all or most of my points, and more, on the substance, though I had also intended to explain why his position should resonate with the general public, as well as intellectuals who were not comfortable with the conventional wisdom and absentminded deference to the “traditional” arts. I’ll try to get back to that; in the meantime, I encourage anyone who reads Japanese to go to Hashimoto’s Twitter account.

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