Anime nerd to become Japan’s next prime minister


From Thursday’s Wall Street Journal:

Score one for the nerds! Shares of Japanese companies involved in the production of animated films and comic books soared in Tokyo Wednesday amid speculation that Taro Aso, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party — and a well-known comic-book fan — may be the nation’s next prime minister. Following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s surprise resignation, shares linked to hobbies associated with “otaku,” or nerds, jumped.

In May, while serving as Japan’s foreign minister, Mr. Aso unveiled plans to establish the International Manga Award to recognize foreign cartoonists. When the winners were announced in July, Mr. Aso told Kyodo News, “It is my hope that manga, through these works, will act as a bridge to the world.” Mr. Aso’s official Web site contains an ode to “manga” published in August that praises the genre for lifting Japan’s standing on the international stage and urges his countrymen to be proud of this success.