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This Japanese politician tried campaigning for Prime Minister inside ‘Animal Crossing’

Shigeru Ishiba is running for Prime Minister in Japan, but his campaign inside Animal Crossing: New Horizons has hit a roadblock.

It was as if Animal Crossing: New Horizons hadn’t entertained us enough already. 2020 is the year that never stops giving, now Shigeru Ishiba (former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party) has announced and cancelled his virtual campaign before it even begun.

Despite the hilarious nature of this ambitious publicity stunt, the Japanese terms of use for Nintendo prohibits in-game political activity. Don’t worry, we’re just as disappointed as you.

animal crossing, shigeru ishiba

Cute and unusual, Ishiba had originally planned to begin his Animal Crossing campaign on Tuesday the 8th of September. His elaborate plan would have featured his character (Ishiba-chan) visiting different players’ islands and putting up posters of his portrait (as seen above). His island of Jiminto (an homonym of his party) would have appeared, along with other ideas, but has now unfortunately been scrapped.

Nintendo Japan has a strict policy in separating its platform from political activities. Ishiba’s acts would have been an act of 政治的な主張 (pronounced seijitekina shuchou), meaning that content containing political advocacy were not permitted. Violating the local terms of use, Ishiba’s Animal Crossing project was down in flames before it even begun.

Outside of Japan, Nintendo doesn’t seem to have any problems with its players getting political in Animal Crossing. Since its launch in the depths of pandemic lockdowns, players have used the game as a platform to express their views, style, and other pieces of their real-world personalities. From emerging contemporary social issues to goofy politicians, anyone with a copy of the game can voice their opinions in Animal Crossing.

Even Joe Biden’s campaign started releasing in-game logos and signs. His victory fund pretty much encourages you to download these prints, and yes they’re 100 percent serious about this.

animal crossing, joe biden