One harmless faux pas committed by Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida’s senior aide went viral on social media while also sparking a strong reaction from the aide’s mother herself. Seiji Kihara, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, engaged in the casual habit of placing one’s hands in their pocket during an official trip with Kishida to the United States, The Guardian reported.
Soon after, a clip of the incident went viral on social media, with people accusing him of “disgracing his parents” by placing his hands inside the pockets of his trousers. Sharing details of the experience on YouTube, the senior aide apologised and said that he had to face his mother’s scolding for it.
Kihara also added that his mother told him that she was “ashamed” of him for the act, which is perceived as disrespectful in traditional Japanese culture. 52-year-old Kihara was spotted with his hands inside his pockets while Kishida was speaking to journalists outside Blair House in Washington on January 13 during Kishida’s visit to Europe and North America.
Soon after realizing what he had done, the aide was seen adjusting his pants and then placing his hands in front of him. Nonetheless, Kihara had to take an angry phone call from his mother who said that she was “ashamed” of him and advised him to “sew up his pockets.”
Kihara reveals reason behind putting his hands in his pockets
Kihara justified the act by stating that he was the “sort of person who puts his hands in his pockets while walking” and was only trying to carefully listen to what the Japanese PM was saying so that he could later brief the press in the most accurate manner. “I was thinking of how best to convey the amicable Japan-US relations on display at the summit,” he said on a YouTube political discussion channel.
Kihara is not the only politician in Japanese history to have been criticized for taking an overly casual stance in public. Earlier in March 2019, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike was slammed for placing her hands in the pockets of her jacket after she congratulated Birhanu Legese for winning a marathon.
“If your hands are too cold to leave outside your pockets, then wear gloves,” one critic said.