Obama, Japan: town with a precedent

Population approximately 33,000, importance approximately not much—a sleepy seaside town on the other side of nowhere is now the centre of world attention, and all because of its namesake: President Elect Barack Obama.

Meaning “little beach” and literally located on one, the Japanese Obama lies due north of Kyoto and five hours by train from Tokyo, and until the junior Senator from Illinois entered national politics, was better known for not much at all—fishing and lacquered chopsticks in between.

But Obama the President has changed everything for Obama the town, and the change is—to appropriate the campaign slogan—“change you can believe.”

Change began in February when resident and president of the Obama for Obama Support Group Seiji Fujihara asked a friend and occasional graphic designer to draw an image of the then Senator. Sketched in ten minutes and only a partial likeness, the presidential seal style logo was none the less immediately liked, and soon appeared city-wide on t-shirts, chop-sticks and even steamed cakes—Obama’s head grilled onto the back of sweet adzuki bean cakes. Thousands of citizens have signed up for membership.

Caught in the spirit of the moment, and possibly something even stronger, Support Group members have recorded a theme song truly hard to believe: Obama is Beautiful World—a catchy sing along part Village People, part Casiotone preset melody; every part uniquely Japanese (music video at bottom):

Obama is Beautiful World
The sea spreading far out
and the bright sunshine reflect the future of your country,
La-la-la-la-la Obama!
Obama is beautiful world!
Obama is No. 1!

What’s next for the town that would be President and could be without precedent?

With the Obama Girls hula troup still dancing in the streets, Obama Mayor Kouji Matsuzaki has announced a statue of the President Elect for City Hall—“a token of the great historical moment for the name Obama,” while November 4th will henceforth be an annual city holiday—presumably named “Obama Day.”

Obama Is Beautiful World

The Obama for Obama song, as performed by the Anyone Brothers Band.

Yes, there actually is an album too…

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