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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

Tagged as “Japan”

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 9:44AM   |  Add a comment
Posters with the name of the candidate glowing in the dark. (ITSUKI PRINT CO.)

Japanese voters go to the polls on December 14 to elect members of the Lower House of Representatives.

Unique "luminous" posters are going up. They are printed with a technology that allows the poster's paint to "store light during the daytime and illuminates for a few hours after dark," according to The Japan Times. There are also posters that reflect automobile headlights.

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 5:00PM   |  Add a comment
Your Party Logo

The Japanese now has a movement similar to the U.S. tea-party movement, but in their country, there is a real political party to vote for.

The party is called "Minna no Tō," which means "Everyone's Party" in English, although I have usually seen it referred to as "Your Party." The party is a new one—founded less than a year ago by politicians who left the Liberal Democratic Party.

The party stands for lower taxes, less regulation, aid to small businesses, and less government intervention.

In the election held this past Sunday, Your Party garnered ten seats in the upper house in parliament (still well below the main parties' numbers).

Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe stated after the vote that his group would not join the ruling coalition: "I think the prime minister should gracefully step down—a political gesture that would be in line with the results of the election."

"Forming a coalition is out of the question," Watanabe said. "Your Party is all about agenda, and we can't cooperate with a party with a different agenda. But we can coordinate in areas where our agendas are consistent."

 

Source: The Japan Timeshttp://search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/nn20100713a2.html
 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 3:30PM   |  Add a comment
Labour Party Web Site Image (2010)

How important are good looks and smiles on political posters, billboards, direct-mail pieces, Web sites, and television to political consultants and designers?

Well, it depends. Does a candidate or party want to convey seriousness, which the times demand, or a confident, friendly image to which voters can better relate? And how much airbrushing and other image manipulation should be done, before the candidate is ridiculed (as British Conservative Party leader David Cameron has been, especially on the mydavidcameron.com Web site)?

Some commentators, such as Michael Deacon, think that Cameron (especially after his portrait was airbrushed for a billboard recently) just doesn't look like a  "statesmen," and that the result is a lack of support of his party in the polls.

British Labour Party leader and Prime Minister Gordon Brown was never shown smiling a decade ago, but now is shown with a very pleasant smile on his party's Web site, and with an idiotic grin on opposition Conservative posters. Since times are hard now, perhaps Labour should can the smiles though.

Cameron, of course, was not the first politician whose image was "improved" by designers. Stanley Baldwin, the Conservative Prime Minister of Great Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, was transformed from "homely" to "attractive," according to Ernest Marshall, who wrote in 1929 that although “Baldwin has been described as the homeliest man in a conspicuous position in British politics, … [his] facial lineaments are now displayed on posters all over the country as an attractive appeal to the voters, … [with his] features … rounded out almost to John Bullish fullness” (Ernest Marshall, “The News of Europe in Week-End Cables,” New York Times, May 5, 1929, http://proquest.com).

Baldwin was not the first “homely” candidate to be idealized in campaign portraits, since this process had transformed, earlier, plain-looking or unattractive politicians, most notably Abraham Lincoln in the United States.

And after the memorable first debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy during the 1960 U.S. election campaign, the importance of “image” was mentioned right away in newspaper articles. For example, two days after the event, a piece in the New York Times stated that viewers had made “frequent mention of how drawn and weary the Vice President had looked” and how his “grimness was shocking,” but many thought that Senator Kennedy had projected a “mature image” (New York Times, “Both Candidates Retain Backers,” September 28, 1960, http://proquest.com).

Until the 1952 election, candidates never really smiled in U.S. political propaganda; they were expected to present themselves as “serious.”  Smiling also has varied by party: in Japan, only 36% of candidates of the Clean Government Party smiled in campaign posters studied in 2000 and 2001, in contrast to the 80% of Communist candidates who did [See Jonathan Lewis and Brian J. Masshardt, “Election Posters in Japan,” Japan Forum 14 (2002)].
 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 1:15PM   |  Add a comment
An official election poster display board in Japan (2009) (http://www.peterpayne.net)

On Sunday, the voters of Japan overwhelmingly sent a message: we want change! The more conservative party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been in power for almost the entire post-World-War-II period, was sent packing, and the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (JDP) will take over. The JDP was created only in 1998, by defectors from the LDP and some of the opposition parties.

Dissatisfaction with the ruling party was rampant this year, with the Japanese economy continuing to show weakness. According to Tomoko Hosaka, writing in the Associated Press, unemployment is a record 5.7 percent and wages have fallen.

The Democratic Party's platform calls for less aid to corporations and more to families, including cash being given to farmers, a boost in the minimum wage, and tax cuts, writes Hosaka. For decades, parties of the left have appealed to farmers and workers, as evidenced by a 1928 poster shown at the right side of this blog entry.

The enormity of the JDP's victory was shocking. According to the Associated Press, the number of seats in the lower house of parliament won by the party increased from 112 to 308. The opposite effect occurred for the LDP, which went from holding 300 seats to a mere 119.

JDP leader Yukio Hatoyama will become the country's next prime minister, and he is less pro-American than his predecessor, Taro Aso, with the former politician calling for closer links with Asian nations and less close ones with the United States.

For more on Japan's political campaigns—and its posters—see the book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History.


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