Shoukichi Kina fails in re-election bid

Musician turned politician Shoukichi Kina failed in his bid for a second term of office in the Japan Upper House election held last Sunday. (See earlier post in this category: ‘Shoukichi Kina goes for second term’). The governing Minshuto Party, of which Kina is the Okinawan representative, generally fared poorly and failed to win a majority in the Upper House election. Kina received about 70,000 votes from around Japan but this was only 40% of the number he got when he was elected in 2004.

On Tuesday I received a phone call from Toshikatsu Takahashi, the drummer in Kina’s band Champloose. He was phoning to thank me for my support for Kina’s campaign to ‘exchange all weapons for musical instruments’ and for supporting his idea to rid Okinawa of US bases. Another Kina slogan in this campaign has been: ‘Okinawa is Okinawa!’ Kina himself said of the result: “It’s my personal responsibility. One of the reasons I lost was because Minshuto betrayed Okinawa. That feeling of betrayal is very strong. I just didn’t personally have enough strength to stop Minshuto. I lost the election but at the same time, ironically, Okinawan issues are becoming well known throughout Japan.” At his office he shook hands with supporters, some of whom were in tears, and thanked them for the last six years.

It will be interesting to see where he goes from here, and he is currently considering options. His mismatch as a member of Minshuto could well be over soon. It might even be a relief to all concerned if he does leave since his views have continually been at odds with the government. With Kina also making well known his advocacy of independence for the Ryukyu Islands it could be that he follows this path on his own along with the anti-base line. Alternatively, he could call it a day and return fully to the music world – his songwriting has stagnated in recent years and the recording studio has been neglected for far too long. Whatever he decides, he is sure to do it with a flourish.

Explore posts in the same categories: Okinawan Life

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