The Japanese Communist Party is gearing up for what could be its biggest election win in more than a decade with more of the same: cartoons, puns and breakdancing. The 92-year-old party has revived a rowdy bunch of animated mascots–the Proliferation Bureau–to spread the gospel ahead of Sunday’s lower house election. This year, armed with a bigger budget, they’re out to stop Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from letting the sales tax rise again, restarting nuclear reactors and revising the nation’s constitution. The Proliferation Bureau debuted during the 2013 upper house election after restrictions on Internet campaigning were lifted for the first time. The eight characters were meant to appeal to net-savvy youth who might otherwise associate Communism with bloody revolutions. “This time the theme is us against the Liberal Democratic Party,” Kazushi Tamura, deputy head of the publicity department, told JRT, referring to Mr. Abe’s ruling party. The party wasn’t sure the Proliferation Bureau would return after the last election, but positive feedback on social media made the difference, he said.
This time the Proliferation Bureau will encounter a group of “bad characters” who will help illustrate the difference between the JCP and the LDP. There is a pack of gun-wielding hounds which represents shudantekijieiken, or the right to collective self-defense supported by Mr. Abe. Instead of writing “ken” using the character for “right,” the JCP used the character for “dog,” which is pronounced the same way.
Proliferation Bureau member Master Poken, protector of the Constitution, holds back the canines in one commercial by invoking Article 9, the article renouncing war, and shooting rainbow-colored 9′s at the dogs.
In others, the sun-shaped character who represents the JCP’s anti-nuclear stance breakdances, while Koyo no Yoko, the group’s sunglasses-sporting labor rights activist, sings an elegy to Abenomics and socioeconomic divisions in a bar.