Japanese cities are divided in wards, known as a “Ku.” In spring 2015, Tokyo’s Ota Ku elected an otaku named Minoru Ogino to its municipal council. He’s the Ota Ku otaku. Get it? And, Councilor Ogino has been looking after his geek constituents. As the neighbor prepares for 2017’s 70th anniversary celebration, Ogino has seen to it that a local cosplay organization has received subsidies to take part in the festivities.
Specifically, its International Cosplay Popularization Council is receiving a 350,000-yen (US$3,400) grant from the Ota Ward government.
Ogino explained on Twitter:
“I’m not sure how much I can, but to the extent possible, I want to help make use of the power that otaku have, not just in cosplay, but also in the fields of economics, local revitalization, education, culture, and multicultural exchange.”
“Cosplay is a form of expression, a part of culture, and a tool for energizing the community.”
Ota’s council head hopes that promoting cosplay in his jurisdiction would lead to a greater understanding of the otaku lifestyle and acceptance of the individuals who choose to lead it.