§ Manga-loving Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso — who is actually not all that popular, and whose championing of manga and other youth culture stuff is an attempt to curry favor with voting youths — now finds little time to read comics because he’s so darned busy running the country:

“It’s hard to read comic books as my time is now restricted,” a smiling Aso told an audience of hundreds in his first street speech since taking office on September 24. The conservative, often gruff lawmaker has eagerly sought to soften his image in recent years by casting himself as one of Japan’s “otaku”-nerds whose hobbies border on obsession.

Aso used the speech in Tokyo’s Akihabara district to hail Japan’s subculture, notably comic books, as a key export from the country. “Japan’s subculture of animation has been overwhelmingly accepted in the world,” Aso said.

§ Meanwhile, over in Norway, the head of a language group, encouraged kids to read Donald Duck comics to learn Scandinavian languages.

Jan-Erik Enestam, Secretary General of the Nordic Council, encouraged Icelanders and Finnish-speaking Finns to read comic books to get better at the Scandinavian languages. Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Halldór Ásgrímsson, also underlined how important Donald Duck had been for his interest in language when he was young. The comics were not always translated into Icelandic, so he was therefore very keen to read the Danish version.

§ Finally, yet more evidence of Barack Obama’s ties to unrepentant comic book readers, via this remembrance from a childhood friend:

At the time, my father and President Sukarno were the only people in the country with Cadillacs, and both were presents from my grandpa, who was the richest man in Indonesia. Grandpa bought me all the DC Comic books, and I was the only one who had them, so Barry and Yanto would borrow the books and copy pictures of Batman and Spider-Man out and ask me to judge which was better. Barry was always better than Yanto. Even Yanto always agreed with that. Barry had a great eye.

Who knows what influence these superheroes have had on Obama in the past, which is something we really need to consider as he runs for president. Do we REALLY know what we’re getting into?


  1. There was a pop culture interview with both candidates in Publishers Weekly: http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20217425_5,00.html

    Obama favors Spider-Man and Batman because they’re not nigh-invulnerable.

    McCain likes Batman because of Batman’s commitment to justice.

    I guess saying you like Superman best because you both stand for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” would be too easy.

  2. I guess saying you like Superman best because you both stand for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” would be too easy.

    True enough, but Superman hasn’t had a hot movie lately, either.

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