During Sanae Takaichi’s news conference announcing her run for Liberal Democratic Party president on Sept. 8, Takako Zenba of TBS asked her about remarks she made in the past characterizing some poor people as putting on an act to get money from the state. Takaichi explained her thoughts about helping the poor and wondered if Zenba was somehow prejudiced against her. “This is me,” she said, and that included everything she stood for, policy-wise.

Four days later, during a discussion on Fuji TV’s “The Prime,” Takaichi again took aim at the media’s portrayal of her. She got the feeling she was being pigeonholed as a right-wing figure, and implied she resented it, but in any case she couldn’t give up “what I can’t give up.”

According to an article in President Online by Hiroshi Samejima, Takaichi’s confrontation with Zenba, who is often described as a “popular announcer,” received positive feedback on the internet. In the calculus of social media, that means there was a corresponding measure of resentment aimed at Zenba. By asserting her individuality, Takaichi distinguished herself from one of her rivals for the presidency, Taro Kono, who has had to modulate his stance on certain policies in order to win the favor of more conservative members of the LDP.