Some feted him as the “prince” of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Others likened his youth and charm to that of a “genius child actor.” The public hoped he would be next in line for prime ministership.
But today, it seems Shinjiro Koizumi is none of these things, at least not to the extent he was just two summers ago when he was tapped to serve as the nation’s environment minister, his current post.
The scion of a blue-blood political dynasty is now undergoing something of a transformation in his public persona: Over the past two years, the one-time charismatic star has increasingly found himself reduced to the role of laughingstock on social media, where memes keep popping up that target his rhetoric, which many say tends to be style over substance. And with his occasional penchant for enigmatic speeches, some have seen a hint of a bard-like quality, consequently jokingly calling him a wannabe poet on platforms such as Twitter.
His newfound online reputation aside, polls also show that the 40-year-old is no longer the public’s top pick for Japan’s next prime minister, further denting his already remote prospects in the LDP leadership election slated for September — for which Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expressed a willingness to run. As Koizumi’s popularity among the public has been thrown into doubt, so has his ability to guide the LDP through a general election, which must be held by Autumn, as the party’s face, with his chances as a…