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Yukio Edano (Japanese : 枝野幸男) is a Japanese politician serving as the chief secretary of the second reshuffled Kan cabinet. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 11th, 2011, his public role as the government’s top spokesperson in press conferences and visitations has brought much attention to Edano in Japan. He has been commemorated with hashtag #edano_nero (Edano, sleep!) on Twitter or sometimes scoffed at with opprobrious nickname Full Armor Edano (Japanese : フルアーマー枝野) by Japanese internet users.
Since March 11th, the chief cabinet secretary Edano continued holding press conferences all day and all night without sleeping to explain the situation of the disaster and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. As the country watched on him working tireless, many Japanese internet users began to applaud his efforts.
When his untiring working continued for about 3 days, some Twitter users who took concerns in his health started tweeting him with a hashtag “#edano_nero” which meant “Edano, Sleep!” or “Edano, Have a rest!”. This hashtag immediately went viral in Japan and beyond, eventually receiving international news coverage.
His popularity on the web made some of collages such as this with positive meaning. This buzzing on Twitter continued till March 16th when Edano went home for the first time after the disaster.
Full Armor Edano
On the other hand, Edano was also the subject of criticism. During his visit to Minamisoma city in Fukushima prefecture for on-site inspection on April 17th, Edano kept insisting before the press that radioactive materials doesn’t affect human health immediately. The phrase which he repeated frequently “(X) doesn’t affect sth immediately” (Japanese ： 直ちに影響を及ぼすものではない, Tadachini Eikyo wo Oyobosumono deha Nai) had already become something like a catchphrase among Japanese.
In spite of this, while local staff were working with disposal mask against hay fever and easy protective clothing, he appeared on this visitation fully geared in protective goggles, 3M dust masks made to protect against radioactive material, and full-body hazmat suits. Furthermore, Edano finished the inspection within 20 minutes and it was reported that he spent most of that by observing from a car.
This discordance between his words and actions were criticized by the Japanese media, as well as 2channel users who jeered at Edano for wearing an overly-protective HAZMAT suit despite his own words of assurance that radioactive materials will not affect human health immediately. The photograph was dubbed “Full Armor Edano.”
The global buzz of “#edano_nero” on Twitter was reported by the Japanese news media and picked up by English-language outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and The Telegraph beginning on March 14th.
As for the “Full Armor Edano”, though it ran rampant around internet forums and social media, it didn’t get nationwide popularity. Only a few online gossip news sites such as Rocketnews24 reported on the phenomenon.
Finally, “(X) doesn’t affect sth immediately” got the silver prize and “#edano_nero” got the 7th prize of the Japanese internet buzzword contest in December of that year.
With the growing frequency of Edano’s public appearance in the media, many began creating remixes and parodies based on news clips of Edano. Though some of them, such as “Full Armor Edano” videos, were aimed to satirize him and the government, most instances portray him in the positive light of heroism.
Edano’s Vocaloid style videos also became popular; NND users compiled Edano’s UTAU voice data from his press conferences and started releasing singing-style videos in the end of March. In these videos, Edano covers many famous Vocaloid songs and shows his beautiful baritone voice. His name as UTAU character is “Nero Edano” (Japanese : 枝野ネロ, Edano Nero), which is a pun made in reference to Miku Hatsune.
In addition, some of the Vocaloid tracks featuring Edano’s voice evoked inappropriate imageries of the nuclear power plant disaster, which received mixed reviews from the NND audiences. As of April 2011, there are over 130 videos that is related to him and was posted after March 11th on NND. And the number of “Nero Edano” videos are over 60.
【MMD】枝野幸男ハイポリモデル完成『踊る官房長官』 / Rhythm and Police from Bayside Shakedown
(See also: Aka-san)
“It doesn’t affect human health immediately!! …Though I’ve made my wife and children evacuate to overseas!! That’s our Democratic Party!!”
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The Wall Street Journal – Twitter Implores Japan's Yukio Edano to Sleep, Naoto Kan to Wake Up / 03-14-2011
The Telegraph – Japan earthquake: Yukio Edano, the 'Jack Bauer' of the crisis / 03-15-2011