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Second Gentleman Emhoff makes diplomatic debut at Paralympics opening ceremony

  • August 25, 2021
  • , Sankei , p. 8
  • JMH Translation

By Ouchi Kiyoshi


WASHINGTON – Douglas Emhoff, 56, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, made his “diplomatic debut” as the first “Second Gentleman (male spouse of the Vice President)” in U.S. history as he arrived in Japan to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics.


Emhoff is a former lawyer who primarily handled lawsuits in the entertainment industry in the western state of California in the U.S. After divorcing his former wife, he married Harris, who was serving as California’s attorney general, in 2014.


Emhoff’s fate changed drastically after Harris ran for the Democratic presidential nomination and was chosen as the running mate (vice-presidential candidate) of Joe Biden, who won the nomination. Emhoff quit his law firm to support his wife’s election campaign. Since President Biden launched his administration in January this year, he has been teaching entertainment law at a university in the capital city of Washington, D.C. and traveling across the country to promote vaccination against the coronavirus and a food distribution program for children and the poor.


In interviews with American media outlets, Emhoff often says, “Men should be proud of supporting strong women” in rebutting criticism and ridicule from conservatives and others who prize “masculinity.” If Harris, whose father is Black and mother is Indian, can be described as a symbol of the Biden administration, which advocates the empowerment of women and minorities and the improvement of their rights, Emhoff embodies the “image of the new man” who supports the realization of those goals. 


Japan is the destination of his first official overseas trip. As the Vice President’s lack of diplomatic experience is frequent cause for concern, it is believed he will support his wife in a growing number of aspects. Some hope that Emhoff will gain experience as the Second Gentleman during the Tokyo Paralympics which are drawing international attention.



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