American journalists and progressives were exasperated last year after learning that President Joe Biden nominated Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Long having a reputation as a brash, combative political operator in Washington, one of the narratives in the U.S. media was that Emanuel was, in short, too undiplomatic for the job.

His straight-shooting style, they said, would unsettle Tokyo and harm relations with Washington’s most important ally in the region. The Japanese media, on the other hand, questioned whether Emanuel — in spite of possessing a distinguished resume, including jobs as Bill Clinton’s special adviser, congressman, Barack Obama’s chief of staff and Chicago mayor — has the foreign policy credentials required for the job.