Schwerpunkte der Forschung

  • Wahl- und Parteiensystem
  • Religion und Politik in Japan
  • Demographischer Wandel in Japan
  • Populismus in Japan

    Populism in Japan

    Anyone interested in populism in Japan will quickly realize that the academic discourse on the topic is as enlightening as it is confusing. The relatively few scholars who are active in this field have produced a conceptually and empirically diverse body of literature. In some of it the sheer existence of populism is contested as are its key components and consequently its definition. The phenomena labelled as Japanese manifestations of populism include a very diverse group of political actors that make it difficult to see a common conceptual ground. One finding most scholars agree upon, however, is that so far the case of Japan is almost non-existent in comparative efforts of the international political science community.

    In this article, Axel Klein argues for an ideational approach to make Japan more accessible to comparative efforts and substantiates his point by analyzing the potentially populist quality of the new political party Reiwa Shinsengumi.

    In our project, we argue for an ideational approach in order to make the case of Japan more accessible to comparative efforts and use the coherent wealth of research on populism already available from the international political science community. Given the increasing attention paid to the phenomenon, we also propose to use mature European democracies as promising options for comparative studies due to their many systemic similarities with Japan. In addition, the IN-EAST will soon be home to a larger comparative project looking at populism in the three East Asian democracies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

    Axel Klein talked to Tristan Grunow (Council on East Asia at Yale University) on his Podcast "Japan on the Record" about what populism actually is, whether or not it exists in Japan, and why it is not a great idea to place Japan into the context of a rise in populism around the world. Listen for yourself: