To become a politician, a dream since elementary school days

Law Faculty 2nd grader Takatoki Morino tells Hakumon Herald

小学生のときに抱いた政治家への夢 :法学部2年森野さんに聞く

Put a casual question, “What is your future dream?” students may give a wide variety of answers. But few will mention “a politician” as their dream. Takatoki Morino, a second grader of Chuo University’s Faculty of Law, is one of the few. He said he has been dreaming of entering the world of politics since he was an elementary school kid. In his junior high-school days, he had a temporal working experience at the office of a member of the Diet (parliament). His desire to participate in politics was so strong in high-school days that he joined a movement to lower the voting age to 18 years. Hakumon Herald interviewed Morino to ask why he chose politician as his dream and what he thinks about participation in politics by young people in Japan.




 -You said you have been keen to participate in political activities since you were a high-school student. What was your motivation?



Morino: Well, it all began when our elementary school teacher advised us to think about politics in everyday life. He often encouraged us to discuss daily news events in the classroom.

森野 小学校の担任の先生に日常的に政治について考えるよう指導してもらったことがきっかけです。その先生は日々のニュースをテーマにクラスで語り合うことを実施していました。


 -What was the most impressive news in those days?



Morino: I vividly remember our discussion about the presidential election in the United States in 2009. Our teacher showed us during the lunch time a TV footage featuring a speech made by President Barack Obama and asked us what we thought about it. American citizens appearing in the footage were very much excited about the election. I was impressed by their immense difference from the sluggish atmosphere seen in Japanese society. Though I was an elementary school kid then, I felt a sense of crisis over the somber state of Japanese society. That made me dream of becoming a politician. As a matter of fact, our teacher himself became a politician later. He is one of persons whom I respect and admire most.

森野 アメリカの大統領選挙に関するディスカッションです。先生はオバマ大統領就任後のスピーチを昼食の時間にテレビで流し、生徒に意見を求めました。選挙に熱狂する市民がテレビ画面に映しだされ、それが疲弊感の漂う日本社会と大きく違ったことが私には印象的でした。小学生ながら当時の日本の状況に危機感を覚え、この時から将来は政治家になるという夢を抱き始めました。実はその先生は後に政治家になりました。私が最も尊敬し憧れる人の1人です。


 -What have you done since then?



Morino: I worked temporarily at the office of a Diet member during my junior high-school days. During my high-school days, I served as a student representative of Teen’s Rights Movement, an organization aiming to lower the voting age to 18 from 20 at the time. We invited incumbent Diet members for discussion with students and made arrangements for mock elections. All our activities were aimed to raise political awareness among students of the same generation. Now, I major in political science at Chuo University.

 森野 中学生の頃は現職の国会議員の事務所で職場体験をしました。高校生になってからは18歳選挙権の実現を目指した団体Teen’s Rights Movementの全国統括高校生代表を務めました。活動としては現役の国会議員を招待し、学生との議論の場を設けたり、模擬選挙を開催したりするなど、同世代の学生の政治意識を高めるようなことをしてきました。現在は中央大学で政治学を学んでいます。

His immediate dream is to become a local assemblyman



-What kind of lectures do you attend at Chuo?



Morino: I have so far been active in civic movements. From my experiences, I have keenly felt the necessity to reinforce a cooperative system to allow citizens to act independently and for the public administration to support them positively. So I felt I myself need to become a professional in the world of administration. Right now, I learn a history of local autonomy, functions of local governments and governance of NPO at the Course of Regional Politics of my faculty’s Department of Political Science.

My dream in the immediate future is to become a member of the Prefectural Assembly in Kanagawa where I live. I want to get engaged in municipal and prefectural administration rather than national administration because I want to be closer to citizens of my own community. I want to have a major impact on the process of dealing with regional problems. I love my neighborhood more than anything else.


森野 今まで市民運動の現場で活動してきました。その経験を通じて私は市民が主体的に行動し、そして行政が積極的にその活動をサポートする協同体制を強化していく必要性があると感じました。そのためにも私自身が行政側でもプロになる必要があると思います。現在、法学部政治学科・地域創造コースで地方自治の歴史、現代における地方政府の役割、非営利団体のガバナンスなどを学んでいます。