Understanding the significance of a Japanese political dynasty

Apparently filmed in mid-March, before authorities took the stay-at-home guidelines seriously, the May 12 episode of the Nippon TV variety show “Kayo Surprise” featured three male celebrities – Yoshizumi Ishihara , Kazushige Nagashima and Daigo – frolicking the Zushi waterfront in Kanagawa Prefecture, where Ishihara grew up. The common thread between these three men is that they all come from illustrious families, which is nothing new in itself. These days, it’s probably harder to find a TV personality who does not have a famous ancestor.

Ishihara’s father is novelist and politician Shintaro Ishihara, while Nagashima’s father is Shigeo Nagashima, one of the most beloved baseball players in Japanese history. Yoshizumi Ishihara and Kazushige Nagashima are both in their 50s and have cultivated distinct media images of their families. The same goes for Daigo, who is still described as a musician and TV personality and only goes by his first name (his last name is Naito). His maternal grandfather is the late Noboru Takeshita, Prime Minister of Japan from 1987 to 1989. Now 42 years old, Daigo has been in television for over 15 years, during which time he developed a character. antenna both god of rock and mischievous. lazy.

In April, Daigo’s wife of four years, actress Keiko Kitagawa, announced on her official website that she was expecting her first child in the fall. Daigo dutifully updated his blog to note the happy occasion, apologizing for raising such an issue as Japan faces “hardships”, but adding that he will keep his wife and child. safe while being careful. As Nikkan Gendai Digital pointed out in his coverage of the ad, Daigo did not use his patented comedic diction, which relies on English-Japanese puns, but stuck to the appropriate Japanese. The article repeated rumors that had been circulating for the past year claiming that Daigo’s marriage was in danger and that he was living apart from Kitagawa at his parents’ house in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.

An anonymous source suggested the separation was triggered by something other than marital growing pains. Apparently, Daigo’s mother Maruko decided it was time for her son to do the right thing for his family and enter public service as the heir to the Takeshita political dynasty. Many thought such a move was inevitable, but according to an article published last September in the Sports Hochi tabloid, Daigo did not exploit his family ties when he strove to become a rock star in his twenties, and his advent as a television personality was an accident of time and circumstance. When he was 29, a TV show wanted to do a special about Noboru Takeshita’s house and asked Daigo’s older sister Eiko to be the tour guide. Eiko, a successful manga artist, declined the opportunity, but suggested her brother lead the tour, who took to the task like a pro. A star Is Born.

It’s unclear whether he always intended to accept the mantle of political scion, but his continued success as a media celebrity heightened his overall appeal. The sticking point now is Kitagawa, who allegedly told her when he proposed that she didn’t want to be a politician’s wife. She was determined to continue her acting career, even after having children. Therefore, the tabloids suspect that the friction is one that develops between a married woman and her mother-in-law.

The current flag bearer of the Takeshita dynasty is Noboru’s half-brother Wataru Takeshita, 73, who was absent from his seat in the Lower House of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party between January and November 2019 due to ‘cancer treatment. According to the June 2 issue of The Flash, Wataru has recovered, but the family is considering his future replacement, and Daigo is said to be the preferred choice of the LDP office in Takeshita constituency in Shimane prefecture. Nonetheless, when asked about it by Flash, Maruko said she didn’t think Daigo would show up.

A show business reporter told The Flash that Maruko is probably thinking about Kitagawa’s feelings, and implies that Maruko intends to urge Daigo to run after Wataru leaves politics. The stakes are high. Politics is literally the business of the Takeshita family. Dynasties that, legitimately or not, amass fortunes through political activities can hold onto that money for generations by donating or lending it to political support groups.

One of the best examples is the current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. From 1982 to 1991, Abe’s father, Shintaro, donated 638.23 million yen to three of his political support groups. According to the Political Funds Control Act, registered political support groups can receive tax-deductible donations for politicians who donate money. After Shintaro’s death in 1991, his son, who succeeded him in his constituency in Yamaguchi prefecture, “inherited” these support groups, along with their money. He paid no inheritance tax on these funds.

If a politician is successful in his constituency, support groups will continue to work towards the election of the politician and that of their heirs. This is why many former PLD lawmakers live full time in Tokyo. They never need to return home as long as they look after the interests of their constituents in the capital. According to NHK, Shimane receives more money for public works per capita than any other prefecture. Daigo has never lived in Shimane, but that doesn’t mean he is of no value to his family and followers.

A show business reporter quoted in the Nikkan Gendai Digital article says that by announcing her pregnancy herself, Kitagawa may be showing signs of succumbing to the thought of being married to a politician. If she worked with Maruko, they would be a great team. Daigo’s unusually serious tone could also be seen as an indication that he is finally considering a career in politics, with the ultimate prize being the post of Prime Minister. Of course, that’s hardly guaranteed, but having a prime minister already perched in your family tree greatly increases your chances and more than makes up for being a professional blunderer.

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