New winds of change are stirring in the world of Japanese politics. Currently, it may be just a gentle breeze, but there is undoubtedly a shift taking place. The recent emergence of young politicians, often referred to as “Gen Z politicians“, is bringing a breath of fresh air to a historically static landscape dominated by conservative older men.

A shining example of this transformative trend is the rise of Ryosuke Takashima, a 26-years-old Harvard graduate, who on April 23rd became the youngest mayor in Japan’s history when he was elected mayor of Ashiya, in Hyogo Prefecture. Central to Takashima’s campaign were green infrastructure planning and educational reforms aimed at reversing his city’s population decline.

Another notable Gen Z politician is a 26-year-old YouTuber who successfully ran for the Hiratsuka City Council under the moniker “Shin the Hiratsuka Youtuber“. His campaign focused on addressing childcare issues, promoting work-life balance, and supporting the elderly. Arfiya Eri, a 34-year-old woman of Uyghur descent, represents the voice of women in this wave of young politicians. She made history as the first woman of Uyghur descent to be elected to any parliament worldwide and advocates for women’s rights and gender equality in a male-dominated politics and society.

The advent of these young figures in Japanese politics holds great promise for the future. It signifies a departure from the conservative and static political environment that has prevailed for so long. Historically, younger generations in Japan have been distant and disinterested in politics. However, armed with fresh ideas and modern, engaging communication techniques, these Gen Z politicians have the potential to foster greater communication and understanding between the political sphere and the needs of the younger citizens.