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Japanese Mayor 'Jo Baiden' Is Gaining Attention After US Election

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Japanese Mayor 'Jo Baiden' Is Gaining Attention After US Election

Joe Biden may have won the US presidential election last week, but he's not the only one who is benefiting from the news coverage.

Thousands of miles away in the small town of Yamato - just 15,000 people - in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, mayor Yutaka Umeda has become something of a media sensation.

That's because under the Kanji system of writing, characters can be read in a variety of ways, and it just so happens that Yutaka Umeda becomes 'Joe Baiden'.

According to reports, the 73-year-old's name Yutaka can be read as 'jo', while Umeda, which means 'plum' and 'rice field', can be read as 'bai' and 'den'.

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As a result, following the news of US Biden's victory over incumbent Donald Trump, Mayor Umeda was overwhelmed with messages from people.

Speaking over the weekend, he said: "I feel very close to him. It feels as though I've also won the election after hearing about [Joe Biden's] projected win.

Mayor Umeda's name can be read as 'Jo Baiden'. Credit: Official website for Yamato
Mayor Umeda's name can be read as 'Jo Baiden'. Credit: Official website for Yamato

"Being the president of a superpower like the United States and a mayor of Yamato - the scale [of our jobs] is completely different, but I'd like to think of ways to promote the town."

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Mayor Umeda is reported to have said that if he were ever to meet Biden, he would introduce himself as 'Biden of Kumamoto'.

But this isn't the first time that a US President has found a namesake in Japan.

Back in 2008, the hot spring resort of Obama Onsen in the town of Obama, Nagasaki prefecture, hit the headlines when Barack Obama was voted into the White House.

So much so that they erected a life-size statue of him in the town just a few years ago.

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This tale comes after Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States, defeating Trump by some margin in what is becoming one of the most controversial elections in history.

Following news of his victory, Obama congratulated his former Vice President and the new VP Kamala Harris.

The 59-year-old posted his message on to Twitter with the caption: "Congratulations to my friends, @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris - our next President and Vice President of the United States."

Mayor Yutaka has become something of a local celebrity since it was announced that Joe Biden had been elected as the new US president. Credit: PA
Mayor Yutaka has become something of a local celebrity since it was announced that Joe Biden had been elected as the new US president. Credit: PA
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In the statement, he wrote: "I could not be prouder to congratulate our next President, Joe Biden, and our next First Lady, Jill Biden.

"I also couldn't be prouder to congratulate Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff for Kamala's groundbreaking election as our next Vice President.

"In this election, under circumstances never experienced, Americans turned out in numbers never seen. And once every vote is counted President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory.

"We're fortunate that Joe's got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he'll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever had - a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril."

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He continued: "Finally, I want to thank everyone who worked, organized, and volunteered for the Biden campaign, every American who got involved in their own way, and everybody who voted for the first time.

"Your efforts made a difference. Enjoy this moment. Then stay engaged. I know it can be exhausting. But for this democracy to endure, it requires our active citizenship and sustained focus on the issues - not just in an election season, but all the days in between.

"Our democracy needs all of us more than ever. And Michelle and I look forward to supporting our next President and First Lady however we can."

Featured Image Credit: Website for the town of Yamato

Topics: joe biden, US Politics, US News, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Japan

Dominic Smithers
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