The Osaka referendum on whether or not to abolish the City of Osaka and give rise to new integrated government system was a big news in Japan yesterday.
The Ishin party (Japan Innovation Party) pushed forward the plan, and lost the popular vote by a small margin.
Osaka is known as the laughter capital of Japan, with comedians from Yoshimoto dominating the media. The political turmoil surrounding the referendum would have been a golden opportunity to make comedy, with the colorful personalities of Mayer Matsui and Governor Yoshimura providing vivid materials.
So it is really weird, to say the least, that there is a total absence of comedy dealing with situations running up to the referendum, especially in the mainstream media such as television. Instead, the Yoshimoto comedians are largely seen as endorsing the policies put forward by the Ishin party, which dominates the local government.
Rooting for politicians without making comedy out of them, let alone criticizing them, does not seem to be within the job description of comedians. The status quo of "comedy" in Japan, especially those associated with Yoshimoto, is strange, to put it mildly.
Now that the Osaka referendum is over, perhaps we need a referendum of Japanese comedy next.