Cosplay is a way for people to escape. It's a way for people to take on another personality and be something that they are not, whether that 's a game character, an anime character, or in Kumiko Hayakawa's case, a ring girl in a boxing match.
Hayakawa, who attending California State University in Sacramento, is a member of the House of Representatives in the Japanese legislature.
In a sea of stodgy male politicians, she stands out. Last night, she stood out more than ever, when she appeared at a pro-boxing match, wearing hot pants and holding the round cards between matches. According to Sankei, one of the fighters is from the Tokyo district she represents.
Hayakawa was a handful of young women with colourful backgrounds who came into Japanese politics a few years back. There was a former hostess, a woman who appeared topless in a horror film and Hayakawa, a former bikini pin-up model.
Granted, this is nothing compared to the former adult video stars who have successfully entered politics in other countries.
Online, 41 year-old Hayakawa has been attacked viciously. This latest incident is merely adding fuel to the fire. "She is a complete fool," wrote one 2ch forum user.
Yes, Japanese politics expects a certain degree of decorum. Politicians are expected to act (and dress) like politicians, which means no leather hot pants. (Oddly, wrestling masks seem to be a-okay!)
In Japan, the dividing line between how politicians are supposed to act and how former politicians can act is a very thin one. Comedian Hideo Higashikokubaru was governor of Miyazaki Prefecture until last year and while in office, he was very series and earnest. Yet, last week, he was in Akihabara, dressed in a mock campaign outfit (see above) -- better yet, cosplaying as a politician. He passed out business cards and shook hands for Sega 3DS game Rhythm Thief. But there is that separation being serving in office and being out of it.
People dress up in funny, revealing clothes in their off work hours all the time -- more power to them. From businesswomen to students, folks from all walks of life cosplay at conventions around the world. Yet, those people are not elected officials. They are not held to the standards placed on those in public office.
What people were should not necessarily be a sole indicator of who people are or what they. Hayakawa's ability to legislate, however, and make policy is another matter entirely.