He might have encyclopedic knowledge of manga, but our new prime minister proved at a recent press conference that he can’t really read kanji. He mispronounced at least four words written in high school-to-college level kanji by his speech writer. "The guy needs furigana (captions deciphering kanji) on all his speeches," one politician mocked. "What an embarrassment that the guy who represents Japan to the world can’t read Japanese!" another rightfully declared.
When approached by a team of reporters on this subject, Aso deflected. "I just misread, that’s all," he said hastily, and then shuffled away from the podium.
Geeks had previously given our manga-loving prime minister the affectionate nickname Taro "Rozen" Aso after his favorite manga, Rozen Maiden. He now has a new nickname, Taro "KY" Aso—Taro "Kanji Yomenai" Aso, or Taro "I-can’t-read-kanji" Aso. (KY is a popular geek term for someone who isn’t in on the joke, like Michael Scott from The Office. You can read more about the concept and take a KY Quiz here.)