Japan Searches the Country for Its Own “Joe Biden”

Amongst the buzz of the American election results, Japan has searched for locations and people with the same name as the Joe Biden.

November 9, 2020
With Biden elected as the next president, train stations that could be pronounced as “Biden,” like Umeda Station (pictured above) are becoming more talked about in Japan. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

Japan Searches for Its Own “Joe Biden.”

Following the recent election results for the United States presidency, Japan has been focusing on the newly elected 46th president, Joe Biden. Out of the many questions and interests that people in Japan have concerning Joe Biden, one question circulating among them is: can Joe Biden be found in Japan? 

Back when Joe Biden was vice president to Barack Obama, a similar event occurred, and a certain Obama City that was located in Fukui Prefecture and Obama Town in Nagasaki became a hot topic for a brief time. It even sparked a support group for Obama simply due to the shared name.

Mayor Yutaka Umeda (Japanese Joe Biden) and President-Elect Joe Biden. Image sourced from BuzzFeed JAPAN

With Biden’s projected victory, people are discussing locations across Japan that could be read as “Biden.” One potential is a station in Osaka that reads 梅田駅(Umeda-eki) but can also be read as “bai-den.” However, it is simply different readings of the kanji used, and it does not go by this name. 

Even more viral than the station though is the Mayor of Yamato-cho in Kumamoto Prefecture Yutaka Umeda. Since the election, he has become quite the celebrity online and even cosplayed as the real Joe Biden for a rather humorous photo shoot. While his name is Yutaka Umeda, just like the other cases, his kanji can be read another way to be pronounced as “Jo Baiden.” The mayor of the small town of just 15,000 has received overnight fame. The replica Biden seems to be rather pleased with all of the attention he’s been getting and was quoted as saying, “It’s a great honor, I feel as if I have won the election”.

Christian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.

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