April 10, 2016
On December 26, 2012, which was the day of the leadership election for Liberal Democratic Party, Prime Minister Abe had katsu curry at an LDP rally at Hotel New Otani in Akasaka, Tokyo. Katsu curry is a type of curry served with steamed rice and a cutlet, usually pork. In Japanese, the word for victory (勝つ) and the word for cutlet (カツ) are the homophones pronounced “katsu,” so some people eat a cutlet before something important (like an exam or a sports match) to bring winner’s luck. So, Abe seemed to eat katsu curry on December 26 so that he could win the LDP leadership election. The media reported that the katsu curry he ate was ordered from a restaurant within the luxurious Hotel New Otani and cost 3520 yen including service. The many members of the public criticized him for eating such expensive katsu curry, claiming that he does not know what it’s like to be a regular consumer. In addition to Abe, LDP MP Shigeru Ishiba was also reported to eat the same menu item.
Ordinarily, katsu curry costs between 800 and 1000 yen. However, as the public shared the political story on Twitter and Facebook, it made a lot of people want to eat katsu curry. After the story was reported, demand for katsu curry increased temporarily.
A similar incident took place in 2015, during the leadership election for the second largest party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). On January 18, 2015, right before the election, MP Kenzo Fujisue (DJP) tweeted that he ate katsu curry for his lunch at an election rally in support of MP Akira Nagatsuma. Nagatsuma was one of the three candidates who ran for the leadership election for the DPJ. From the photo, it was apparent that MP Fujisue ate the same katsu curry that Abe ate in 2012. MP Fujisue and the DPJ were then criticized for eating expensive katsu curry.
The following article by Rocket News has photos of the restaurant, Satsuki, their katsu curry, the menu and a receipt.
If you scroll down, the photos will appear.