I need to talk to you.”
It was on June 5 that I received a line from Dr. Suidobashi (59). When I visited him at his home, he told me that he wanted me to join his campaign.
But didn’t the campaign staff from the Reiwa Shinsengumi headquarters come to see him?
It was good that he had announced his candidacy, but he had no concrete plan for his campaign, and there were many issues that remained untouched. The author immediately responded, “Okay.
To begin with, Dr. Suidobashi and the author had been TV program performers and writers. They hardly spoke to each other for the first six months after taking charge of the program, but they began to exchange words as they talked about Showa-era entertainment and other topics. The program staff saw this and began to entrust most of their requests to Dr. Suidobashi.
He conveyed the staff’s requests to the author at every opportunity, but each time he was rebutted. I was impressed by the fact that every single one of their arguments made sense and was consistent. At that time, I had the impression that he might be suited for politics. I thought he was a good candidate, but I had overlooked something important.
Before the public announcement, Dr. Kikuchi took the stage at a small event in Suginami Ward, Tokyo. After the event, a man who appeared to be a fan came running up to him and breathlessly said, “Harkasee, please do your best. I’m really rooting for you. The sight of him was even moving, but the doctor responded without changing a single expression on his face.
I almost fell over at the saltiness of his response. When I asked him, “Since when did you become the vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party? It was no laughing matter. He should have shaken hands with me and said, “Thank you. If she were Junko Mihara (57), she would have done the same. No matter how suited she is to politics, if she is not suited to elections, it is meaningless.
June 22, the day of the public announcement, arrived. Dr. Suidobashi’s first speech for the campaign was made at the plaza in front of the Koenji North Exit Station. It should be noted that Dr. Suidobashi’s wife, Chie, thanked the audience.
Everyone, please support my husband, please support him. ……
She said she had been hesitant until the night before, but when she held the microphone, she was magnificent. A woman who has made up her mind has a power that men do not have.
When Kiyoji Nishikawa, 76, ran for the House of Councillors for the first time in 1986, it was said that “Mrs. Helen’s help in the campaign helped her to get 1 million votes,” and I had this thought in my mind: “She may become the goddess of victory in this campaign.
On June 26, the first Sunday of the election campaign, we set out on a campaign tour of Yokohama.
First, we made a speech in front of Sotetsu Yokohama Station. In spite of the intense heat, with temperatures topping 35 degrees Celsius, an audience of nearly 50 people stopped to listen to his speech. Dr. Kurokawa’s speech improved as he gave more speeches. He gave a bit of advice: “Don’t force yourself to speak well. Perhaps his advice, “Don’t force yourself to speak well; speak in your own words,” helped a little.
After the one-and-a-half-hour speech, I suggested, “Why don’t we stop by Sakuragicho? I suggested.
There are five seats in the heavily contested Kanagawa electoral district, and the Sakuragicho station on First Sunday was surely the place where candidates from other parties would be making their speeches. Our objective was to appeal to the supporters of the other parties in front of them in the name of collaboration. Sure enough, the plaza in front of Sakuragicho Station was filled with the LDP’s Keiichiro Asao (58) giving a rousing speech. The audience numbered roughly 500. The reason for the massive turnout was immediately apparent. The vice president, Taro Aso (81), was the cheering orator. The color of Dr. Suidobashi’s eyes changed.
Aso Taro and Dr. Suidobashi had an unusual connection. Aso had appeared numerous times on “Asakusa Kid’s” 18-year-long TV program “Shukan Asa (Secret) Journal” (TBS), where he revealed his love of “Golgo 13” and other comic books. The man who brought out this character was none other than Dr. Suidobashi, the creator of the “manga-loving Taro Aso.
When Aso visited his wife Chie’s family home in Nagoya, which runs a long-established ryotei (Japanese-style restaurant), Aso even made a joke, saying, “Thanks to your son-in-law, I could become prime minister. It seems that the relationship between the two is not so bad, and it is even likely that he will give a speech to the audience of 500 people, saying, “Please give my best wishes to Dr. Suidobashi, too. All right, let’s charge in!
I made my way through the audience and got next to the line to play goofball with Taro Aso.
Mr. Aso, it’s been a while. I’m Dr. Suidobashi. I’m running for Reiwa.
‘Oh …… you’re still alive?’
The vice president said as if he were eating someone and walked past him. It must have been a very chagrined reunion for Dr. Suidobashi.
But the humiliation was not in vain. The author, who had recorded the entire event, immediately posted a video on Twitter, which was viewed 70,000 times and picked up by the Internet news. For a new candidate, there could not have been a better publicity stunt.
From the midpoint of the campaign, he began to go on regional tours at the direction of Reiwa’s newly elected headquarters. Dr. Suidobashi also went from Tokyo to Sendai, Tokyo to Osaka, Nagoya, Osaka, Kokura, Fukuoka, Kobe, Tokyo, Saitama, Yokohama, and Osaka, a hard schedule reminiscent of a professional wrestling tour of the regions.
On July 9, the last day of the campaign, we went around Osaka City in our campaign car. The response was not bad, but we needed a catalyst.
“For now, let’s go to Osaka Castle,” I thought.
I used to live in Osaka and had a strange jinx that if I went to Osaka Castle, I would meet someone there. That was all it was, but one of the team members said, “There’s going to be a B’z concert at Osaka Castle Hall later this evening,” while fiddling with his phone.
As we drove into the business park adjacent to Osaka Castle Park, it was overflowing with people. We parked our car and held a temporary photo session called the “Ultra Soul Photo Session. The event was nothing more than a waterworks photo shoot to the accompaniment of B’z’s popular song, “ultra soul. We just took pictures with Dr. Suidobashi to the tune of B’z’s popular song, “ultra soul.
However, the event turned out to be an unexpected success. Dr. Suidobashi handed out his handmade business cards to the B’z fans lining up for the photo session, saying, “Please forgive me.
Please forgive me. I am Dr. Suidobashi. I will do my best to do my job. I look forward to working with you.
I was moved. The man who had been so blunt and salty toward his devoted fans was now making a heartfelt plea on the last day of the campaign. It was the moment I was convinced that he could win.
In the 26th House of Councillors election held on July 10, Dr. Suidobashi won a seat in Reiwa’s newly elected national proportional district. He received 117,794 votes.
Masashi Hosoda, born in Okayama City in 1971, worked as a CS anchor before becoming a broadcaster. He has published several books while working on radio and TV programs. His recent book, “The Man Who Let Chu Sawamura Fly the Vacuum – The Critical Biography of Osamu Noguchi, Promoter of the Showa Era” (Shinchosha) won the 43rd Kodansha Honda Yasuharu Nonfiction Award.
From the August 12, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Photographed and written by： Masashi Hosoda