BBC

Japanese Politician's Meltdown Goes Viral, But Why?

Reporters questioned a Japanese lawmaker about $30,000 in unaccounted-for travel expenses, and he responded with a weeping, emotional outburst.

By Amy Kluber | July 3, 2014

We see public figures get emotional every once in a while, but one Japanese politician's viral weeping apology is over the top, to say the least.

In a press conference, 47-year-old Ryutaro Nonomura can be heard sobbing and yelling as he defends racking up about $30,000 in unaccounted-for travel expenses, mostly on trips to a hot springs resort. (Via NTV)

RT provides a translation of the outburst: "I finally became an assembly member ... with the sole purpose of changing society. I want to change this society. ... Don't you understand?"

According to The Washington Post, the lawmaker goes on, "Aging population isn't only a problem in our prefecture." The article also notes the outburst was unusual in such a conservative society, which "values temperance and reticence."

Still, others are poking fun about the whole thing, racking up more than 2 million views on YouTube for the vid and creating a number of memes that have circulated around Twitter. (Via Twitter / @KINOcom / @maria330eren / @panpikkle)

Over in the modern Western world, men crying can often be seen as taboo. But crying has more historical significance in medieval Japanese culture, when it was common for Japanese male warriors to cry.

According to the book "Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears," although "tearlessness was the height of male stoicism and virtue, ... [it] has not been the standard of manliness through most of history." (Via W.W. Nortion & Company / "Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears")

Even a traditional Japanese contest glorifies the cry of a baby as a sign of future good health, and the louder the cry, the more likely it will ward off evil spirits. (Via CCTV)

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