He was born in Nagoya and attended Kyoto University. He spent 25 years as an executive at the trading company Itochu before retiring to become a politician. He now manages the Smile Therapy Association in Akasaka, Tokyo. Akasaka claims to have personal assets of billions of yen from trading in rare earth metals, which he uses to cover the cost of his political campaigns.
He has run for various political offices in recent years, including the Minato City Assembly (2007), the House of Representatives (2007, 2009, and 2010), Governor of Tokyo (2007, 2011, 2012 and 2014), Governor of Osaka Prefecture (2011), Governor of Niigata Prefecture (2012) and Mayor of Osaka City (2014), running as the candidate of the Smile Party (スマイル党?). In these elections he has become known for flamboyant election speeches, often in costume, and for staging impromptu concerts in public areas such as central Shibuya. His official election speech broadcasts, in which he stressed the importance of smiling while wearing an outlandish costume such as Superman or a space alien, became popular on YouTube and other video sites.
His campaigns through 2012 cost a total of around 30-40 million yen; his 2012 run for governor of Tokyo alone cost around 5 million yen even though he chose not to print election posters. Akasaka considered staying out of the Tokyo gubernatorial election in 2014, as profits from his rare earth trading were down and he was less willing to front the 3 million yen bond required to run. He finally announced that he would run after an outpouring of comments on Twitter urging him to do so. He wrote: "There are Mac fans throughout the world, not just among the voters of Tokyo, but even in Hollywood and Lausanne. They are looking forward to my election video."
- Hongo, Jun (4 January 2013). "Mac who would be governor says: Smile". The Japan Times. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- "マック赤坂氏"引退"激白！ 参院選「５万票を下回ったら…」". ZAKZAK. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014. "──法定得票数を獲得できなければ供託金３００万円を没収される 「個人資産はレアアースの貿易でもうけて数十億円ある。大丈夫です」"
- "マック赤坂氏、やっぱり都知事選に立候補表明 スマイル党総裁「引退」撤回". Huffington Post. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014. "東京都の有権者のみならず、今やアメリカのハリウッドでもスイスのローザンヌでも、世界中のマックオタクがいるんです。私の政見放送を楽しみにしてるんです。"