Political Science in Japan: Looking Back and Forward


Abstract
The aim of the article is to review Japanese Political Studies in Japan (JPSJ) circa 2000 for the purpose of identifying the trends of JPSJ and gauging its scope, subject areas, and methods. I then identify the key questions asked in JPSJ, i.e. for the third quarter of the last century: (1) What went wrong for Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, which had been seemingly making progress in the scheme of and was with a ? (2) What is the secret of Western democracy in excelling itself in terms of keeping freedom and accumulating wealth? For the last quarter of the last century: (1) Why is Japanese politics shaped so heavily by bureaucracy? (2) Why are its citizens so weakly partisan in their voting choice? (3) How are politics and economics intertwined in policy making and electoral behavior? Following these trends in JPSJ in the latter half of the last century, I identify the three trends that have emerged in the first quarter of this century: (1) historicizing the normative and institutional origins of Japanese politics, (2) putting Japanese politics in comparative perspective, (3) the new self-conscious impetus for data collection and theory construction. Despite the steady tide of globalization and the strong influence of American political science, market size, long tradition, and language facility, lead political scientists in Japan to think and write more autonomously
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DOI 10.1017/s1468109910000125
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