Celebrations of President Barack Obama’s re-election happened across the world yesterday. In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron posted his regards on Twitter: “Warm congratulations to my friend (at)BarackObama. Look forward to continuing to work together.” In China, it is understood that President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaobao phoned Obama to congratulate him. Everywhere, politicians and citizens alike celebrated the continued success of the leader. But in one town they have been celebrating one thing in particular about the re-elected president…his name.
The town of Obama in the Fukui Prefecture of Japan was yesterday excited about more opportunity to capitalize on the name it shares with the most famous American of our time. The mayor of the town, Koji Matsuzaki, said that he would expressed the people’s delight at the election result by sending a letter to the president. He said that in this letter he would congratulate the president on his win, encouraging him to visit “Obama the next time he is in Japan”.
Obama means ‘small beach’ in Japanese. As well as the 32,000-strong city in the Fukui Prefecture, there is also another town on Japan’s coast which shares the president’s name. The western coastal town Obama, in the Nagasaki prefecture, threw a party complete with Hula dancers, the ‘Obama girls’, in homage to the US president’s home state of Hawaii.
Back in Obama, Fukui, celebrations were a little more low-key this year than they had been four years ago. Nonetheless, many residents came out to support their adopted candidate take the victory, and one group even started baking to mark the occasion, making green bean sweets which are thought to be loved by Obama’s grandmother in Kenya.
The president himself brought attention to his connection to these Japanese areas back in 2006, when a Japanese official at passport control told him he must be from one of the Obamas. The Japanese government has welcomed the re-election of US President Barack Obama.
Sources include: Japan Today, NHK, The Guardian
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