It's been over 6 weeks since I started this blog, and at times I've wondered if I've set the bar too high by trying to write a new entry per day, and to not repeat myself. Then I stumble across something new to talk about, and I end up with about a week's worth of material in my stockpile. To make matters worse (better?) something will pop up that needs to be mentioned right away, postponing my needing to dig into the stockpile for another day.
For those of you that don't follow Japanese political news, there was a big shakeup this week - Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced Monday night, without forewarning, that he was resigning. Apparently, Fukuda's Cabinet had lost popular support, and the ruling party has been unable to pass legislation due to divisions in the Diet. Fukuda claims that his resignation will allow this mess to be straightened out. To fill the void, the ruling party's (the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP) secretary general, Taro Aso, says that he will run for Prime Minister to replace Fukuda.
Now, what's interesting about all this from our point of view is that Aso is known to be a big manga and anime fan. And as a result of Aso's declaration to run for Prime Minister, the stock prices for various anime and manga companies jumped on the JASDAQ boards on Tuesday, according to the Wednesday Japan Times. Toei Animation was up 150 yen to a high of 2450 yen. Mandarake hit 353,000 yen. Broccoli Co., an anime goods maker, was up 45% to 84 yen per share. And, We've Inc., an anime studio was up 10% to 8260 yen. This is expected to just be a blip, since none of these companies will be showing larger profits over the long run, but it's still worth noting.
To put this into perspective - something like this would never happen in the U.S., even if Stan Lee himself made it onto the ticket.