How George Bush lost a mahjong battle for world domination

If "The Legend of Koizumi" isn't the wackiest manga of all time, the competition must be out of this world

By Andrew Leonard

Published January 15, 2009 10:17PM (EST)

Mutantfrog Travelogue's Roy Berman nominates "The Legend of Koizumi" for Best Manga Ever. After reading the Wikipedia page and perusing some of the illustrations of key characters, I am sorely tempted to agree, even if unable to read the as-yet-untranslated original.

Koizumi is Koizumi Junichiro, the popular, unruly-haired prime minister of Japan from 2000-2006. Only in this incarnation, cooked up by the amusingly epitheted "gag-manga" master Oowada Hideki, Koizumi is a wheeling, dealing mega-mahjong player, deciding the fates of nations in gambling battles with other world leaders.

Both George H.W. and George W. Bush make appearances:

George W. Bush:

The 43rd President of the United States, a gambling prodigy since his days in Texas. A man who believes that the ends justify the means. During a game of mahjong against Koizumi in a Japan-U.S. summit in Okinawa, where the stakes are a F-15 Eagle for every 1000 points, Bush suffered a humiliating defeat despite ganging up on Koizumi 3-on-1. He played Koizumi again in Dallas with his father, but lost again. His moves include "Patriot Tsumo" and "Bush Doctrine Riichi".

George H. W. Bush:

The 41st President of the United States, often referred to as "Papa Bush". In his mind, he was disgraced by the Japanese twice: the first is when he was being shot down above Ogasawara in World War II, the second is when his son was defeated in Okinawa on the mahjong table. He summoned Koizumi to the Texas Schoolbook Depository in Dallas (by kidnapping Taizo) in order to settle the score with mahjong. His special move is the "Apocalypse Now Ron" (where "ron" is winning by picking a discard).

Vladimir Putin, a "General Kim" from North Korea, and the Pope (!) all make appearances. Indeed, Berman reports that in the latest installment, the Pope uses "ancient Catholic magic rituals to beat Koizumi in a mahjong game."

I am sure that someone, somewhere is hard at work at a scanlation of "The Legend of Koizumi." Please?

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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