Last week's "gathering" was the most unconventional Democratic National Convention I've seen since 1976, when Jimmy Carter ("who?”) was nominated and later elected president. Then a student of American politics at the University of Minnesota, I never dreamed that national conventions would be as hollow and "virtual" as the 2020 DNC.

Well, in a sense, the convention was not virtual. Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, John Kasich, Cindy McCain and Colin Powell, who took part, are all real. That said, many in Tokyo found this year’s DNC as real virtuality, since neither participants nor viewers online seemed to have felt the pulse and passion of a national convention.

Editorials in Japanese newspapers last week were naturally ambivalent. Liberal papers, like the Tokyo Shimbun and the Asahi, sounded rather descriptive and neutral with headlines like “Biden needs to unite his party of various groups” or “U.S. presidential election requires debate to overcome fragmentation.”