Since taking up his post as U.S. ambassador to Japan last year, Rahm Emanuel has lavished his host country with enthusiastic tweets about riding the world-class bullet trains and subways, hiking Mount Fuji or sampling local delicacies and festivals.
He has also regularly hailed business leaders and politicians with a convivial spirit that belies the bull-in-a-China-shop reputation he built as chief of staff to President Barack Obama and as mayor of Chicago. In doing so, he has established himself as a champion of Japan’s accomplishments.
But a recent string of messages about gay and transgender rights, culminating in a video Emanuel released on Twitter earlier this month, has drawn considerable ire among conservatives in Japan. Critics say the ambassador has overstepped the bounds of diplomacy and crossed into unwanted interference in domestic policy.