Popular mangaka Ken Akamatsu has won his election for the House of Japanese House of Councilors within the National Proportional Representation Block.
Ken Akamatsu ran as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on a platform of freedom of speech and freedom of expression and appears to have been able to appeal to the public.
Akamatsu announced on December 16th, 2021 that he had intended to run in the 2022 Japanese House of Councilors election. On Twitter, Akamatsu updated the public on the results of his election;
“After 8:00pm, various media outlets began to report that I would be the projected winner of the House of Councilors election,” Akamatsu said.
He added, “With my election, this is the birth of the first manga artist to be in the government. I believe that Japan will change! I will work hard to realize my promises so that I do not betray the voters who supported me and will not shame them as their representative.”
Ken Akamatsu became involved in politics after speaking out against what he saw as outside influences that were negatively stifling freedom of expression in Japan.
Earlier this year, the UN Women’s Council started a protest against commercial advertisements for the series Tawawa on Monday by Kiseki Himuro. In response, Ken Akamatsu pointed to this as an example of external pressure that needed to be resisted in the name of protecting freedom of expression.
In response to his electoral win, many mangaka have come out to celebrate his achievement in hopes that they will continue to be able to create their passions without worry of censorship.
Raiku Makoto, creator of Zatch Bell!, congratulated Ken on the win: “Ooh!! Really?! Is this accurate? It is on the NHK front page for now! Akamatsu-Sensei! Congratulations!”
“Akamatsu-sensei! Congratulations to the projected winner!”, Tonikaku Kawaii creaor Kenjiro Hata said.
This election has taken place in the shadow of the assassination of LDP leader and former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe two days ago. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pushed for the importance of carrying out the election to ensure that no acts of violence would be able to rock the bedrock of Japan’s democracy.