Oxford Bibliographies is a reference database that has annotated research guides over various topics. While we do not have a subscription to it through the library, Dr. Gaunder has created research guides over subjects that are pertinent to this course. Each research guide has its own tab in this box, which includes a general overview of the topic and a list of resources that may help you in your research.
Resources available at the SLC are labeled with the SU symbol. If you find a source we do not have in our collection, you may request it through GET IT! Interlibrary Loan, or schedule an appointment with a librarian for assistance.
THE OPPOSITION AND EMERGING DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF JAPAN (DPJ)
Given the dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party from 1955-2009 most studies of opposition parties focus on why the opposition parties failed to overturn the LDP during this period. Both Christensen 1996 and Johnson 2000 maintain that opposition parties played a significant role in the 1955 system of LDP dominance despite their failed strategies to overturn LDP rule by focusing on more modest policy and strategy goals. Scheiner 2006 emphasizes structural constraints that the opposition parties faced and discusses party competition at the local and national levels. Other studies focus on shifts in the opposition parties following critical junctures such as the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union (Lam 1996) or the JSP’s decision to join the LDP in coalition in 1994 following electoral reform (Hyde 2009). Fisker-Nielsen 2012 provides an anthropological study of the grassroots support of the Clean Government Party, a significant LDP coalition partner since 1994. Despite the fact that the Democratic Party of Japan became the largest opposition party in Japan in the 1990s, very few studies of this party exist. Most analyses of the DPJ began once it won the 2009 lower house election. Both Green 2011 and Hughes 2012 assess the DPJ’s foreign policy agenda since 2009.
The Politics of Economic Stagnation
The recent political economy literature on Japan has grappled with Japan’s prolonged economic stagnation following the economic bubble of the late 1980s. The "post-miracle" literature seeks to explain the reasons for Japan’s slowed growth. Most analyses classify the attempts at economic reform as failures. Many scholars analyze the role of the bureaucracy, with special attention to the Ministry of Finance’s attempt to address the banking crisis (Amyx 2004) and the prolonged stagnation of the 1990s (Grimes 2001). Others focus on the effects of private interests in subverting reform (Kawabata 2006) or the role of weak executive leadership (George Mulgan 2002). The Carlile and Tilton 1998 edited volume seeks to understand the large volume of regulatory reform considered during the 1990s. Lincoln 2001 provides an economist’s perspective on Japan’s decline, pointing to social and cultural lags on reform. Vogel 2006 provides the most positive assessment of reform by focusing on innovative solutions met through government and industry cooperation. (See Katz 1998 and Pempel 1998 under *Political Economy* for a broader examination of Japan’s postwar political economy that includes an explanation for Japan’s economic stagnation and prospects for reform).
The Electoral System
The unique nature of the lower house electoral system which consisted of multiple member districts with a single nontransferable vote (SNTV) has attracted much scholarly attention, even after electoral system reform to a combined single member district (SMD)/proportional representation (PR) system in 1994. Grofman et al 1999 provides a comparative overview of the effects of the SNTV system on campaigning, parties, and reform in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. More technical journal articles focus on specific dynamics of the electoral system, including party strategy (Baker and Scheiner 2004), seat bonuses (Christensen and Johnson 1995), election spending (Cox and Thies 1998), and campaign finance regulations (McElwain 2008). The Shugart and Wattenberg 2001 edited volume places Japan’s new combined electoral system in comparative perspective with chapters on the causes and consequences of electoral reform in Japan. Pekkanen et al 2006 presents a quantitative study on the effects of the new electoral system on the allocation of party posts.
The Japanese Economic Miracle
The politics of Japan’s rapid economic growth dominated the political economy literature in the 1980s and 1990s. Most studies sought to determine the dominant factor(s) behind growth. Johnson 1982 was prevailing paradigm throughout this period. Chalmers Johnson's MITI and the Japanese Miracle characterized Japan as a developmental state and argued that the bureaucracy was responsible for Japan’s phenomenal growth. Several studies refined or directly challenged the developmental state school: Friedman 1988 emphasizes firm-level organization, Okimoto 1989 includes socioeconomic factors, and Samuels 1987 focuses on the more pluralistic nature of Japan’s political economy. Wade 1990 challenges the state-led and market models by developing a comparative study of rapid economic growth in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong, depicting the state as responsive to market developments. The Woo-Cumings 1999 edited volume rejoins the debate with a defense of the developmental state school of thought. Other studies analyze Japan’s rapid economic growth with an eye to the lessons that can be gleaned by other countries, including the UK (Dore 1986) and the U.S. (Johnson, Tyson, and Zysman 1989).
Studies of Japan’s political economy explore the intersection between politics and economics, considering issues such as industrial policy, economic reform, and social welfare. The three volume political economy series from Stanford University press provides an introduction to Japan’s high growth political economy, covering domestic politics (Yamamura and Yasuba 1987), the international context (Inoguchi and Okimoto 1988) and the cultural and social context (Kumon and Rosovsky 1992). Both Katz 1998 and Pempel 1998 also explore the dynamics of Japan’s high growth political economy, but writing later these scholars emphasize how the structures and practices of high growth have hampered economic reform in the post bubble period. Other comparative studies explore more specific aspects of Japan’s political economy, including industrial policy (Noble 1998) and regulatory reform (Vogel 1996).
Discussions of political parties in Japan include general overviews of the party system, comparative studies of various parties, and more specialized treatments of the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the opposition parties of the period of LDP dominance, and the now emerging Democratic Party of Japan. Most overviews of the party system consider the organization, support base, and ideology of the major political parties as well as the way parties interact with other political actors and institutions. Curtis 1988 is the classic treatment of party politics under the 1955 system of LDP dominance. For Curtis, the “Japanese Way of Politics” places politicians, especially party and faction leaders, at the center. Contrasting treatments of political parties in the postwar period emphasize political culture (Baerwald 1986) and rational choice (Kohno 1997). Hrebenar 2000 targets undergraduates and general audiences with a general introduction to parties and party systems. Curtis 1999 updates his earlier study of parties by considering the politics of the 1990s with a focus on politicians, institutions, and the effects of political reform. More recent analyses of the party system since electoral reform are more technical and target Japan specialists (Reed 2003, Schoppa 2011). Koellner 2004 is a more focused study of factions in the LDP and the DPJ.
THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Most discussions of the LDP are contained in more general treatments of the party system. A handful of significant books and journal articles on the LDP join this literature and further illuminate the nature of the party. Thayer 1969 is the first comprehensive exploration of the LDP in English and provides a window into the early history of the party. Sato and Matsuzaki 1986 is a pathbreaking study of LDP organization in Japanese which became the springboard for future studies of the LDP in English. Pempel 1990 places the one party dominance of the LDP in comparative perspective, speaking to the broader party politics literature. Krauss and Pekkanen 2011 is a very up-to-date exploration of the LDP organization with special attention to the effects of political reform. Several technical, mainly quantitative, studies of the LDP appear as journal articles exploring electoral politics (Rosenbluth and Cox 1993) and factions (Kohno 1992). Pempel 2010 is a more accessible article on the fall of the LDP from power in 2009.
Women and Politics
Given the low levels of female representation at the national level most studies of women have focused on other forms of participation. Many sources explore the relationship between activism, social movements and political participation (Pharr 1981; LeBlanc 1999; Gelb and Estevez-Abe 1998). Others take a theoretical approach and explore the relationship between feminism and politics (Eto 2005; Mackie 2003; Takeda 2006). Finally, some studies analyze female participation through voting (Martin 2011) and representation (Iwai 1993).