KONAN, Shiga -- A canine came out top dog for the first time in seven years in an annual mayoral race to represent a virtual Japanese city for animals on April 24, beating three cats and two other dogs.
The 10th mayor of the city of "Konyan," an imaginary city said to be found somewhere in the Shiga Prefectural city of Konan in western Japan, is Izumi, a 5-year-old male dog. He is the second successful canine candidate in the history of the city, whose name is a play on words mixing the actual city name "Konan" and "nyan," the Japanese onomatopoeia for a cat's meow.
A total of four dogs and four cats initially entered the race, but a dog and a cat subsequently withdrew, leaving just six animals in the running. Izumi's election promise, or "nyanifesto," read, "I was taken into custody from a bad situation. I will become a traveler, and work hard to promote the attractions of Konan." He won 2,570 of 5,838 votes in total, or about 44%.
The election was carried out by the Konan Tourism Association, which came up with the idea in 2011 to promote animal protection and tourism in the area. Voting this year kicked off on March 23, with intense competition continuing for a month. The virtual city of "Konyan" was established in 2011 by the association.
A ceremony to present a certificate to the winner and a press conference had been held every year, but this year the events were canceled due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Izumi will be introduced as the mayor on the afternoon of April 27 at the webpage below (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Yuko Murase, Omihachiman Local Bureau)