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Tokyo Governor Money Scandal Turns Graphic Meme

Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Naoki Inose, made headlines in the mainstream media on November 26, 2013 over a money scandal for receiving 50 million yen [50,0000 US Dollars] from a hospital organization before running for election in December 2012.

In a press conference Inose presented a document to prove that the money was a personal loan, and not as funds for his election campaign. He apologized to the people of Tokyo and the metropolitan government but is determined not to resign over the issue. Governor Inose was credited with playing a central role in bringing the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

In Japan's Public Office Election Law, candidates must report all income including donations. Inose did not report the 50 million yen. A group formed by former prosecuting attorney Tamaki Mitsui submitted [ja] a letter of indictment about the matter.

For Japanese twitter users, such a political scandal is just another topic for a meme. Netizens picked up the image of Governor Inose holding an IOU, which appeared very simple for borrowing such a colossal amount of money, and transformed [ja] into something funnier. They also made fun of Governor Inose by calling him “Governor Innocent”.

Film critic @TomoMachi commented on twitter after being astonished by the press coverage showing a very simple note of hand without a seal, Japan's common way of verification using a stamp.

This looks like as if a school kid just made it up few minutes ago! The document is a note of hand to borrow 50 million yen with no interest, no collateral and no return date set. Does he know how hard it is for a regular citizen to borrow 10 million by going to a bank? @craft_box: this looks terrible. [laugh]

Three dimensional coffee art barista @george_10g challenged the Governor so that he can draw it too.

Today's leisure cappucino dubbed “The note of hand presented by Governor Inose attracted my attention so that I can draw it too (with coffee and late)”.

A little later, one user, @kono_mama uploaded a white blank version of the document on twitter, which led to a series of jokes using the graphic.

Here! Take this graphic for meme players!

User @AkizukiRitchan mocked the image and put it on the back of advertising paper. These advertisement flyers are commonly distributed to households to publicize grocery items on one side, with nothing printed on the other side where kids often doodle.

It looks as if he just wrote on the back of piece of a flyer [supermarket advertisement that is distributed to every household]

Twitter user Masataka transformed the image to a letter often written by working mothers, a note to make sure children have a snack for afternoon tea, while she is outside of the home.

Hey, it's snack time.[The image says "Dear Joe, there's a cream-puff in the fridge".]

Another user @v_okajima made an endless loop of the image.

Isn't this infinite loop scary?

Japanese netizens have a thing about a person presenting a message on a paper with a serious face. When Jacques Rogge of the International Olympic Committee presented a card with Tokyo written on it to reveal the location of 2020 Olympics, the picture of historical momentum was quickly turned into all kinds of random funny collages by inserting different words where “Tokyo” was originally. And just like they did for Jacque Rogge's photo, somebody created a text-overlay generator [ja] for Gov. Inose. Through this fast and widespread meme by rather non-political, cynical netizens, the money scandal has remained controversial.

Thumbnail image by Keiko Tanaka

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