"zouzei-megane (tax hike glasses)" being sold on amazon in Japan

Japanese Public Mocks PM Kishida with "Tax Hike Glasses"

A Japanese business has recently sold real "tax hike glasses," a meme that has taken off in Japan. SAWADA PLATEC, a small acrylic manufacturer in Saitama prefecture, currently sells the physical "zouzei-megane (tax hike glasses)" online via Amazon Japan for 1,500 yen (10.43 USD).

The "tax hike" part calls out assumptions that taxes will go up under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, although he hasn't actually raised them yet. Still, the punchy name captures his believed priorities - indifferent officials not benefiting regular people.

SAWADA PLATEC's "Zouzei megane (tax hike glasses)" being sold on Amazon Japan

(Image from Amazon Japan)

The public's view of Kishida

In Japan, Kishida has recently gained the mocking nickname "tax hike glasses." This name, created by critics of Kishida, combines two notable features, his leadership style seen as boring by some, and his focus on raising taxes. The nickname targets PM Kishida's glasses and "dull personality". To many Japanese citizens, these represent a weak leader who is unable to excite people or address their needs. This criticism is reflected in Kishida's approval rating, now sitting at an all-time low of 23% as reported by NHK as of December 11, 2023.

prime minister kishida sitting on a chair

(Image from JIJI.com)

This sarcastic internet meme shows the Japanese public is willing to create humor that confronts governance seen as ignoring average citizens' concerns.

Timing the glasses to match controversies around taxes, demand proved huge. From almost no interest in October, December orders poured in by the hundreds instead. However, SAWADA PLATEC announced on December 19th that it would end its production on December 25th, 2023.

So, the glasses will soon exit their short but impactful time in Japan's cultural spotlight.

Online Japanese Culture Impacts Reality

While pure novelties now, the glasses show links between online jokes and real responses. Creative businesses seize chances when memes or feelings spread widely across Japanese social media.

Reactions on Twitter towards the "zouzei-megane" being released to the public

(Image from Twitter (X))

For the online base, the glasses provide cathartic release through shared laughter at establishment excess.

They also demonstrate online phenomena now often spark material reactions from opportunistic companies. For SAWADA PLATEC specifically, fast viral success spotlights future growth potential in leveraging internet sparks.

Japanese Public Frustration Echoes Online and Off

While the "tax hike glasses" nickname criticizes PM Kishida's perceived priorities, it also reveals crucial mass sentiment shifts and public feelings spreading on social media can sway policy assumptions and business choices.

At the same time, creative companies spot trending memes or complaints to sell timely response products. Virtual sentiments shape physical goods, redirecting them back into the digital realm.

This cycle will only grow as more Japanese people become fluent in the internet. The glasses let citizens unite against possible extra financial burdens from rising taxes.

So Japan's "tax hike glasses" showcase surging public frustration now reverberating digitally and in reality.

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