In a nation where we’re constantly bombarded online with targeted political messaging (think back to the Obama For President 2012 5-a-day email bomb), it might be easy to forget how charming that kind of attention used to be.
As hyper-connected to technology as Japan is, it has mostly been through traditional channels that politicians have tried to reach voters. The wife of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Akie Abe, has proclaimed herself the head cheerleader of his social media presence.
At the moment, it’s a very small presence (currently only through Facebook, and only by her), but it has been an ambitious and at times noble effort on the part of the First Lady take on this role. Shinzo Abe is currently holding his second nonconsecutive term as Prime Minister of Japan, and Akie Abe felt his public persona was taking a beating. Starting back as early as 2006 (during his first go-round), she started a blog to express she and her husband’s honest opinions of public issues. Akie Abe told The Asahi Shimbun that she joined Facebook after his previous resignation from office.
It was a very adept First Lady who noticed the need for an insider’s perspective on the office of Prime Minister, and for that I give her major kudos. Much like our own First Lady uses social media to share ideas and promote the President’s agenda, First Lady Akie also uses Facebook to put a more human spin on things. She seems to be making an effort to portray her husband as less like a distant right-wing conservative and more like an average guy who likes corny jokes and occasionally needs a break from the political world.
This is a first for a Japanese First Lady, and is a trend we’ll hopefully see continuing on into future administrations. Mrs. Abe has found a way to control the negative spin surrounding her husband and to make her already famous self even more popular. Mr. Abe has grown increasingly shy of the media in the last few months, so this may be a good way for him to remain the public eye in a positive way. I say congratulations to the First Lady for taking on such a positive and powerful role in the Prime Minister’s administration!
Photo Source: Facebook