It can be difficult to get elected to a political position in this country, sure. Well, if it seems a daunting task, you can always hop-skip-and-jump to the other side of the globe and get elected to the city council of a small Japanese municipality.
According to a story by the Home Reporter, this is the true tale of Bensonhurst native Anthony Bianchi, who is currently serving on the City Council of Inuyama, as the first elected American in Japan’s history.
The Home Reporter describes how Bianchi’s improbable story began in Bensonhurst and somehow ended up on the other side of the world:
His journey has been a long and successful one. After graduating from Xaverian in 1976, Bianchi attended New York University. Ever since he was young, his goals reached far beyond Brooklyn. “I was interested in Japanese culture a long time ago,” he said. “I had a chance to visit Japan in 1988 and I decided it would be interesting to live in a foreign country.”
Shortly after graduating from NYU, interest developed into reality. Once he moved to Japan, Bianchi joined The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, which aimed at promoting grass-roots international exchange between Japan and other nations. He also became an English teacher in 1988.
Eventually, Bianchi wanted to get explore the political sector of Japan. “I decided that I needed to get things done and to do something from a different perspective,” said Bianchi. “So I decided to run for city council and left it up to the voters.” Bianchi won the election and became a councilmember in 2003, making history in the process.
Incredible. Right now, as Bianchi’s final term is coming to an end, he is working on a book about Japanese politics and the importance of being politically engaged in one’s community.