Smiling May Help Election Candidates Win More Votes: Study

Politics Society

Tokyo, March 20 (Jiji Press)--With a spate of public offices elections scheduled this year in Japan, findings from a unique study by a university professor may be good news for those planning to run in the polls--smiling could earn candidates more votes.

In a once-in-12-years phenomenon, both unified regional elections, including gubernatorial, mayoral and local assembly polls, and a triennial election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, the country's parliament, will be held this year, in April and in summer, respectively.

Masahiko Asano, professor at Takushoku University in Tokyo, has been researching links between smiles of domestic election candidates on their campaign posters and how many votes they gain.

He launched the study after being inspired by a report published in a foreign academic journal claiming that the more election candidates smile, the more votes they get.

Using a special facial recognition system, Asano analyzed the degrees of smiles of some 6,000 people on their campaign posters, based on such factors as how widely their eyes and mouths are open and the state of wrinkles around their eyes, and rated them on a scale of zero to 100 points.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press