A Wave of Patriotism

Itsuo Inouye / AP

Japanese naval ships maneuver during a fleet review in October in waters south of Tokyo

With his spiky hair and skinny suits, Yoshinobu Tomiyama is on a quest to change Japan. In a country where politics is often the preserve of older folk, Tomiyama is a relatively youthful 41-year-old running in the country's Dec. 16 parliamentary elections. His biography brims with unorthodox choices, like moonlighting as a comedian and self-financing his studies in the U.S. and Britain — unusual for the average Japanese. Tomiyama's childhood hero was a roving samurai who helped overthrow the ruling shogun and propel a long-isolated nation into the modern age — a political revolution known as the Meiji Restoration....

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