All eyes on Hatoyama–his fashion, at least

At a charity fashion show in December, 2009 (via Mainichi)
At a charity fashion show in Dec. 2009 (via Mainichi)

While Prime Minister Hatoyama’s approval ratings continue to sink, it seems attention paid to his sense of style is at an all-time high, as most recently pointed out by this article by CNN correspondent Kyung Lah.

Hatoyama, whose wife garnered almost more attention than he did during the election last year with her “Venus” and “eating the sun” statements, has always dressed a little unusually–though we have to wonder if Miyuki is the one choosing his clothes. The madness seemed to surface little-by-little, starting with Yukio’s gothy shirt during a Fuji TV visit to the Hatoyama residence in July of last year (click here for Japan Probe coverage–unfortunately the YouTube videos seem to be gone), but his latest checkered getup seems to have been the final straw before the media pounced.

For fun, let’s look at some of the highlights of Yukio Hatoyama’s life as a political fashion plate:

Spreading the love with a heart-pattern shirt at his villa in Karuizawa during a party meeting (May? 2007)
Spreading the love with a heart-pattern shirt at his villa in Karuizawa during a party strategy meeting (May 2007)
Working the shirt in a different outfit
Working the shirt in a different outfit. The word heart, pronounced "haato" in Japanese, sounds much like the first syllable of Hatoyama's family name.

The infamous shot of Hatoyama at a charity fashion show, sporting that same classic number from "At Home With the Hatoyamas" (Oct. 2009)
The infamous shot of Hatoyama at a charity fashion show, sporting that same classic number from "At Home With the Hatoyamas" (Oct. 2009)
At the same event, with Miyuki Hatoyama demonstrating her own unique fashion sense
At the same event, with Miyuki Hatoyama demonstrating her own unique fashion sense
With children at a session of "Real Hato Cafe" (February 2010)
With children at a session of "Real Hato Cafe" (Feb. 2010)
At the second "Real Hato Cafe" meeting (April, 2010)
At the second "Real Hato Cafe" meeting (April, 2010)

In the end, these are really only a few instances of wacky dress (in public) over a ten-year period. Hatoyama is unfortunately high-profile enough to merit comments, parodies and complaints with his (or his wife’s) fashion choices, even on his day off. Despite his colorful wardrobe in a sea of monotone Japanese politicians, he’s still got a long way to go before he’s any match for the king of political fashion: Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi.

6 thoughts on “All eyes on Hatoyama–his fashion, at least”

  1. I’m kinda happy about the idea that someone would bring a sense of style to high political office, even if it was wacky and perhaps tacky. Since I’m in a land far away, dunno about how good a leader this guy is, and ultimately that would be the important thing to me. It is not a necessity that a person with perhaps casual or whimsical taste would make a bad leader, any more that a person who wears the most utilitarian code suits, is a good one. If nothing else it’s amusing.

  2. Yeah, you have to wonder how people’s reactions would be different if he was a highly competent leader with the same off-beat wardrobe. Would people still point it out and pick on him? Here in Japan, the land of uniforms, there’s a really strong belief in the old “The clothes make the man” adage, but this is also a country that feels perfectly fine selecting ex-wrestlers and other non-experienced people for candidacy. With a “loopy” prime minister and a government full of corrupt oldies and ineffective newcomers, it’s no wonder people feel apathetic about politics.

  3. Well color me surprised that Kyung Lah wrote an actual article based on something current rather than recycling things from years ago.

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