Synopses & Reviews
Including contributors with diverse backgrounds and outlooks, this volume provides an unconventional and provocative look at how Japan is situated in a globally unfolding transition in methods of democratic government. In Japan's case, the country is making a transition from "karaoke democracy" to "kabuki democracy." Karaoke democracy focuses on collectively redistributing benefits among many intervening institutions, whereas kabuki democracy focuses on striking an emotional chord through direct conversations between leaders and citizens. A must-read for those interested in knowing where Japan is heading.
"Japanese politics has gone through several transformations in the past, albeit all under the LPD party until its defeat by the DJP in 2009. At this critical juncture in the history of Japanese politics, Takashi Inoguchi has once again written a remarkably insightful book on Japanese politics and on three distinguished prime ministers, Yoshida, Tanaka, and Koizumi. He writes that the bureaucrat/expert-dependent, consensus-building, organic politics which he defines as 'Karaoke democracy' has given way to an inorganic, individualistic politics nicknamed 'Kabuki democracy' and epitomized by Koizumi, a go-alone leader who pursued aggressive policies to meet the demand of globalization and digitalization. This is a story of Japanese politics at the point of inflection. We will have to wait for another masterpiece of political analysis by Inoguchi on why Koizumis successors continue to fail to replicate what he has done so successfully and when future leaders of Yoshida/Tanaka/Koizumis caliber will appear again in Japan." - Han Seung-soo, former prime minister, Republic of Korea "Takashi Inoguchi and Purnendra Jain magnificently capture the drama and excitement of contemporary Japanese politics." - Ikuo Kabashima, governor, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan "This work is unique in identifying the evolution of modern Japanese politics with the broader evolution of its society. The movement has been from 'Karaoke democracy' (bureaucratic centered) to 'Kabuki democracy' (dependent upon leaders connection with the citizenry). Thus successful leaders in modern times have been those who in both temperament and policy have been attuned to the citizenry as a whole. This analysis provides a new understanding of modern Japanese politics and is of value to veteran scholars as well as students." - Robert A. Scalapino, Robson Research Professor of Government & Emeritus of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley "Japanese Politics Today, edited by Takashi Inoguchi and Purnendra Jain, is not just extraordinarily timely, but prophetic. It is a story of the replacement of classical predictability in politics by uncertainty, and also by transparency and by accountability. This is so in Japan when one examines prime ministers and parliament, the national bureaucracy and the social services, local politics and even the media. This book is simply a must for anyone who wants to understand what politics in Japan - but also elsewhere - is becoming and is about to become even more after the 11th March drama." - Jean Blondel, professor emeritus, European University Institute
About the Author
Takashi Inoguchi is aprofessor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, and current president of the University of Niigata Prefecture. Among his latest works are Japanese Politics, Japanese Foreign Policy Today, Citizens and the State, Political Cultures in Asia and Europe, American Democracy Promotion, Reinventing the Alliance, and The Uses of Institutions. He received his PhD from MIT.
Purnendra Jain is a professor of Japanese Studies in the Centre for Asian Studies at Australia's University of Adelaide. Author and editor of 12 books and numerous scholarly articles on contemporary politics and the foreign policy of Japan, his book Japan's Subnational Governments in International Affairs (2006) was translated into Japanese under the title Nihon no jichitai gaiko (2009). His latest co-edited book is Japan in Decline: Fact or Fiction? (2011). He is currently president of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.
Table of Contents
Introduction: From Karaoke to Kabuki Democracy: Japanese Politics Today--Takashi Inoguchi and Purnendra Jain * Prime Ministers--Takashi Inoguchi * The System of Bureaucrats in Japan--Hiroaki Inatsugu * Legislators--Kentaro Fukumoto * Winning Elections in Japans New Electoral Environment--Steven R. Reed * Party Politics in Japan--J. A. A. Stockwin * The Farm Lobby--Aurelia George Mulgan * Civil Society and Global Citizenship in Japan--Jennifer Chan * Welfare Policy--Gregory J. Kasza and Takashi Horie * Japans Subnational Government: Toward Greater Decentralization and Participatory Democracy--Purnendra Jain * Reporting with Wolves: Pack Journalism and the Dissemination of Political Information--Ofer Feldman * Revision of Administrative Law as Shortcut to Constitutional Revision--Helen Hardacre