A mayor in a small town in Japan has become internet famous for his name, which is pronounced as “Jo Baiden” in kanji (Chinese characters).
What’s in a name? Yutaka Umeda, 73, is the mayor of Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture, which has a population of only 15,000 but has gained recognition on the internet after Joe Biden was projected to be the winner of the U.S. presidential election last week.
- The mayor’s last name is read as “ume” and “da,” which mean “plum” and “rice field,” according to Kyodo News.
- But the characters can also be read as “bai” and “den.”
- The kanji character for his first name, Yutaka, is usually read as “jo.”
The world: “The US election never ends! This is so stressful!!”
Japan: “Wow, is there a Joe Biden in Japan too?? Not really! That’s the mayor of Kumamoto, Umeda Yutaka, whose name can be read like that!!”
…I’m not even joking! The guy’s name is written as 梅田穣 (BAI-DEN-JOU) pic.twitter.com/lrk66IhpDJ
— Mima (@yoremasu) November 7, 2020
Overnight viral sensation: Umeda and his family were surprised by the connection with the president-elect and the online popularity of his name.
- “I feel very close to him. It feels as though I’ve also won the election after hearing about (Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s) projected win,” the mayor was quoted as saying.
- Umeda congratulated Biden on the results of the 2020 election and hopes this recognition brings further attention to 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 would like to think of ways to promote the town.”
- Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also congratulated Biden and Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris after the duo’s victory was announced on Saturday.
Warm congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
— 菅 義偉 (@sugawitter) November 7, 2020