stories

When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter 4 - page 1

Several years passed.
Awkwardness disappeared completely from Kinjiro 's enacting of mad Shogun Ashihara. This was of course due to the assiduous coaching by the nurse who had known Kinjiro well when he was mad. In addition, when he met reporters, Shimada prescribed Kinjiro an extra dose of an antidepressant called "tariran" since his melancholy mood came out involuntarily in his expressions and attitude. There was a time when people gossiped that the Shogun's remarks had become too predictable and banal and so reporters stopped coming for interviews. But as his acting improved, they started to come back with fifty sen to three yen in their pockets for interview fees.
When reporters were not at the hospital asking him questions he drafted edicts and bills. They were usually published in newspaper columns. For example when the general election was held in Taisho 13, he drew up a bill designed to enforce fair campaign practices, in which he itemized punishable offenses--- like the following :The dissolution of both Houses has now revealed their evils. In view of our principles that the state be fair to all and official discipline be strictly enforced, whoever either accepts or gives bribes during the general election shall be punished as follows :Article 1. Should, at this crucial moment for our nation, any House Member whose duty is to elucidate rights and wrongs of issues of importance to the state, advocate correct views and justice, and reflect on the national interest and welfare, offer electoral bribes, he shall be sentenced to death and his assets confiscated. Article 2. Whoever votes under the influence of a bribe at the time of election shall be fined a hundred times the sum of the bribe accepted; two-time offenders shall be fined a thousand times; and three-time offenders shall be fined ten thousand times the sum of the bribe accepted. Article 3. Any political party where at least one of its memebers is convicted of either of the two above offenses shall be ordered to dissolve itself. The said member shall be disbarred from any future political activities of any nature.Constitutional democracy is by its nature rule by majority. With due respect to this principle, I hereby submit my proposal for deliberation. Great Council of State Emperor Ashihara The third month, the thirteenth year of the Taisho Era.
Kinjiro maintained high interview fees exactly like the stingy Shogun Ashihara. If there were many reporters, he charged them twenty sen each; when there were two or three he charged fifty sen. If they wanted his photograph, he demanded two or three yen, judging each reporter with his keen, sane eyes.
One day two reporters had only one yen on them.
"What do you want today?" Kinjiro stared at the two reporters, rolling his eyes.
"Today we came to ask you for instructions as to what kind of pleasures we can get out of this one yen," the older of the two said sneeringly. His hair shone with too much grease.