A remote Japanese prefecture outside of Tokyo has sparked worldwide interest after a man dressed as the Joker joined the fray to become governor.
Yusuke Kawai, who is running for governor of Chiba Prefecture, made headlines for his resemblance to the comic book supervillain played by Joaquin Phoenix, reports The Indian Express
With a clown-like painted mask, the 40-year-old director of an event planning and temporary jobs agency declared his candidacy.
"Given his penchant for purple suits, one might say he resembles a certain comic book supervillain, but to avoid copyright problems, let's just say he's "a joker" rather than the Joker," according to Sora News 24.
On his personal YouTube channel, he announced his nomination for the "Party to Make All of Chiba a Land of Dreams and Magic."
According to Japan Today, a large part of his current political position appears to be irritating Masayuki Hiratsuka, his rival candidate.
Rather than relying solely on manifestos and speeches, Kawai began his campaign by rapping his way to the hearts of his supporters. He was seen dancing in different public places after launching a new rap named "It's Show Time."
"Since the clown is kind of a dark hero, I had this impression that I could get the support of the masses," he told Tokyo Sports, explaining the reason behind his make-up.
Influenced by films, he outlined some of his plans for the small town, which includes renaming Narita Airport as Disney Sky, making 'Let It Go' from Disney's Frozen Chiba's theme song, Kotaku reported.
There are many theories on social media as to why he wears makeup, with some users saying he is too afraid to show his real face.
Kawai is not the only political personality from Japan who has garnered global attention in recent times.
Last year, Yutaka Umeda, the mayor of Yamato — a small Japanese town — became an internet sensation owing to similarities in his name with US President Joe Biden. Several social media users had then pointed out that the characters of his name could also be read as 'Jo Baiden', when written in the Kanji script.