Local Political Participation in Japan: A Case Study of Oita, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Local Political Participation in Japan

A Case Study of Oita, 1st Edition

By Dani Daigle Kida


148 pages

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How Do Japanese Citizens Participate Politically?

Most Japanese citizens, perhaps with a bit of a chuckle, would answer that ‘average’ Japanese do not participate in politics. While political attitudes in other countries have fluctuated corresponding to social, political, and economic climates of the times; in Japan, a consistently negative view of politics has persisted since the late 1960s. Japanese citizens perceive their government much more critically than citizens of neighboring countries. While many Japanese citizens participate in specific political acts such as signing candidate support cards, attending political rallies, or directly contacting politicians, they largely do not view these activities as political participation. Kida examines why this is the case; whether there is a connection between negative views of politics and how Japanese people self-identify their political participation; how Japanese citizens attempt to exact change or influence policy; how the government engages citizens in political participation; and the relationship between citizens’ attitudes towards government and levels of political participation.

Kida explores political participation on the local level, to better understand the sources of political attitudes. While participation studies have been conducted in Japan, most are centered in large urban areas, focusing on either extreme forms of participation such as protests, or concentrated on single issue participation such as the environmental or women’s movements. This book, in contrast, explores what every day ‘regular’ in the system political participation looks like in a small traditional Japanese city – using Oita, a small city in Kyushu, as a case study. It focuses especially on the role local institutions and politicians play in influencing the kinds of participation available and subsequently, the attitudes created about participation.

Table of Contents


List of Figures & Tables


  1. Political Actors
  2. Institutionalized Participatory Mechanisms
  3. Koenkai (personal support organization)
  4. Lowering of the Minimum Voting Age
  5. Survey Results
  6. Discussion, Recommendations, & Conclusion

Appendix A- Oita Survey Questions


About the Author

Dani Daigle Kida is a Researcher at the Center for Democracy Promotion, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

About the Series

Routledge Studies on the Asia-Pacific Region

Asia’s dynamic economic growth during the past three decades has elevated the region’s significance in the global economy. The growing American economic linkage with the region has also elevated the region’s significance in U.S. foreign policy, as typified by President Obama’s "Rebalance to Asia" policy. While U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist outlook cast some doubt about the continuing U.S. engagement with the region, Asia’s growth has not only been an economic blessing, but also a potential destabilizing factor in regional security. The continuing isolation of North Korea and its development of weapons of mass destruction, China’s rapid military modernization and growing maritime ambitions, uncertainties about U.S. security commitment to the region, and responses of the major powers (like Japan, India, and Russia) have dynamically interacted to shape the transformation of regional security.

At the same time, economic growth has affected domestic socio-political balance in each country, and the growing economic linkages have also boosted transnational interactions between both legitimate and illegitimate societal actors; business alliances, human rights groups, environmentalist networks, and transnational criminals are some examples. These changes in governance in the region have offered a very important subject to study.

This series aims to cut across the arbitrary sub-regional focus of much of Asian Studies and to explicitly incorporate the role of the United States in the region. In order to capture the dynamic economic, political, social, and cultural transformation of the region, a broader geographical scope must be studied together in multi- and inter-disciplinary fashion. Topics covered will include international relations, comparative politics, history, popular culture, media, crime, urbanization and economic integration.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies