Politicians are sometimes adept at using metaphors.
For example, according to "Kotoba no Shikiho" (A quarterly journal of words) by Yoshihiko Inagaki, former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka (1918-1993) once made the following observation likening fellow Liberal Democratic Party heavyweights to different kinds of edged tools: "(Masayoshi) Ohira (1910-1980) is 'ittoryu' (one-sword school); (Takeo) Fukuda (1905-1995) is a long dagger; (Takeo) Miki (1907-1988) is a sickle; and (Kiichi) Miyazawa (1919-2007) is a short sword."
The comparison, which is evocative of the LDP-dominated political scene years ago, is quite interesting.
And now, Yoshihiko Noda has acquired the image of a "prime minister who cannot make decisions." I do not mean to be disrespectful but when I think of Noda, the image of a "lead sword," in other words a blunt sword, comes to mind. But it is not necessarily bad. A Chinese saying goes: "A lead sword values a single slash."
A sword made of lead bends with a single slash. That is why the owner of such a weapon must make good use of that single chance and put his all into it, free from all evil and distracting thoughts. That is the moral behind the maxim. I wonder whether the prime minister, who keeps stressing his "unflagging resolve" to advance tax and social security reform, has such determination.
Although Noda is never at a loss to answer questions in the Diet, his statements are stereotyped. He is unable to control Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Azuma Koshiishi, whose priority is intraparty harmony.
In the meantime, former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa once again has emerged as an influential player. I am getting tired of the way things are running in circles.
With reference to the prime minister's unflagging resolve, which is really nothing more than a cliche, the following "senryu" satirical poem that ran in The Asahi Shimbun hits a sore spot: "How many political careers does he have?"
Noda is casting amorous glances at both the LDP and Ozawa. I'm not saying political maneuvering is pointless because, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Masaharu Gotoda (1914-2005), who served as chief Cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, was likened to a razor and his "trusty sword."
Osamu Fujimura, the current chief Cabinet secretary, is said to have confided in a veteran LDP member: "Is it really OK (for me) to be so indecisive?"
It would be a problem if the chief Cabinet secretary loses his edge.
--The Asahi Shimbun, May 24
* * *
Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
- « Prev
- Next »