Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Farewell to photogenic Aso

September 8, 2009

JAPAN-ECONOMY/ASO

Japan’s voters may have overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Taro Aso at the polls last week, but he and my camera got along just fine.

The 68-year-old makes vigorous gestures with his hands and strong facial expressions. His crooked smirk and his eyes that sometimes seem to be  popping out of his head always gave me a lot of interesting photo choices.

Now the photogenic Aso must pack his bags and hand over the prime ministerial house keys to Yukio  Hatoyama , the leader of the new ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

Hatoyama, once nicknamed “the alien” for his prominent eyes,  is — visually at least — less interesting except for his unruly locks that sometimes blow about in the wind.

The problem for me behind the viewfinder was that Hatoyama was expected  to win by a landslide while Aso was the visual winner.

Surrounded by fluttering Japanese national flags, Aso in shirtsleeves looked vigorous when campaigning and his smile was that of a  winner and his strong hand gestures displayed an eloquence which did not exist in his words.

JAPAN-ELECTION/POLL

But Hatoyama, who mostly wore dark suits, hid behind microphones and covered his mouth when speaking and  on the rare occasion he tried to convey strength and determination through his body language, he came off looking awkward and unnatural.

On election night, Hatoyama won a landslide but just smiled. The jubilation that might be expected from such a massive victory was hidden from sight. By contrast, the defeated Aso stepping into shadown after making a speech acknowledging defeat looks like the fallen hero in a movie.

I hope Aso gives Hatoyama some advice when he hands over those keys. Something like “Try using your hands when you give a speech” should do the trick.

JAPAN-ELECTION/

Photo credits: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (top), Issei Kato (middle), Toru Hanai (bottom)

Comments

The harder it is to photograph a political figure, the more restrained and controlled they are, the harder you try to get the moment. When you get a good picture – it’s a great one and many other photographers who are not trying quite so hard wont have it !

Posted by Russell | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •