´╗┐

Japan's Comic Relief

Japan's politics are pretty much a no-laugh zone, so you might excuse voters in the rural southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki for electing independent candidate Hideo HigashikokubaruŚa political neophyte better known as former TV comedian Sonomanma HigashiŚto be Governor in a landslide win on Jan. 21. But Higashikokubaru's win may have less to do with entertainment than with public dissatisfaction over Japanese politics, increasingly seen as corrupt and ineffective. His predecessor, also an independent, resigned amid corruption allegations, and scandals have forced two of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's top ministers to resign.

The loss is disquieting for the ruling...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!