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«by Dyron Keith Dabney A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Political Science) ...»

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Electioneering in Japan in an Era of Institutional Change: Case-Studies of Campaign

Behavior in Urban, Suburban and Rural Election Districts


Dyron Keith Dabney

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment

of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

(Political Science)

in The University of Michigan


Doctoral Committee:

Professor Emeritus John Creighton Campbell, Co-chair

Associate Professor Vincent L. Hutchings, Co-chair

Professor Ronald F. Inglehart Associate Professor Leslie B. Pincus Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my mother, Vernice S. Dabney, and my father, the late Charles T. Dabney, Sr. Thank you for your steadfast, unwavering faith and confidence in me throughout this academic endeavor. Collectively, I am grateful to my parents and two elder brothers, Charles, Jr. and Vertram who always reminded me of the value of my contribution to the academy, the political science discipline and society.

ii Acknowledgements I am indebted to John C. Campbell, my academic advisor and dissertation committee chair, and Ruth Campbell for their personal and professional counsel and encouragement over the years, especially during the challenging periods of this project.

Their generosity will never be forgotten. I am especially grateful for the concentrated attention and intellectual acumen John Campbell provided during the final stages of this project. I also wish to thank Vincent Hutchings, Leslie Pincus, and Ronald Inglehart for serving as members of the dissertation committee and the instructive comments offered to improve the quality of the project.

I owe so much to Charlea T. McNeal for her tireless counsel on the dissertation process. Her sustained commitment to following my progress enabled me to see this dissertation to its completion. She challenged and inspired me to think more critically about my research and life. Additional thanks go to the late Takashi Horimoto, Sherry L.

Martin, James Kruz, Hideki Oba, Hiroyuki Komine and Scharn Robinson for keeping me motivated. I sincerely appreciate their constant friendship, emotional support and intellectual insight.

A special thanks goes to the Motohiro Kondo, Steven Reed, Satomi Tani, Yoshitaka Nishizawa, Yukio Kabashima and Yasunori Sone, who at different stages of the dissertation research presented me with many opportunities to advance my data collection and enhance my network of sources. They were my initial points of access and entry to MIGM, Keio University, Japanese Election Studies Association, political events, workshops, etc. The introductions and arrangements made on my behalf enhanced the comprehensiveness and ease of my research investigation over multiple years.

iii I can never repay the generosity extended to me by the executive leaders, administrative staff and many graduates of Matsushita Institute of Government and Management. I received generous financial support and on-going encouragement from MIGM during my research. The support I received over the length of this dissertation project remains priceless. The privilege and experience of being the first Western researchers in residence at MIGM is unforgettable. I remain honored to have been afforded the opportunity to be a guest of MIGM’s unique living and learning environment. More importantly, I remain honored for the opportunity to feature MIGM and MIGM alums in my research. Former Director of MIGM, Mr. Kuniko Okada, and President of MIGM, Mr. Akira Joko were constant sources of confidence and cheer when I was challenged by setbacks in the research. They also served as a compass when I felt lost about where to go and what to do next at critical times in the field research.

Last, but certainly not least, I am eternally grateful for the on-going contributions from Matsuzawa Shigefumi, Genba Kouichirou and Usami Noboru and their respective staff members and families to my dissertation research. Their candid conversations about politics and willingness to invite me into their political and personal worlds informed the dissertation on so many levels. Without their abundant cooperation and generous support this project would not have been possible. I will always cherish the generosity of Norihiko Fukuda and Osamu Watanabe, legislative and campaign staffers for Matsuzawa Shigefumi and Genba Kouichirou, respectively, who opened their homes to me during my field research. Their immediate support signaled their appreciation for the research project, but more importantly it showcased the universality of human kindness.

–  –  –

The family name or surname of individuals referenced in this text precedes the given name according to the Japanese convention. Japanese scholars’ works published in English that appear in this text are presented in reverse order according to the Western convention.

–  –  –

Amegasa Yuuji, Kawasaki City Council member (Asao ward), on October 17, 1996 and June 22, 2000.

Aoyama Keiichi, Secretary for Matsuzawa Shigefumi and Kawasaki City Council member (Tama ward), on March 17, 1997 and June 15, 2000.

Aihara Takahiro, Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly member, (Asao ward), on June 20, 2000.

Fukuda Norihiko, Secretary for Matsuzawa Shigefumi, on February 14, 1997, June 21, 2000 and June 30, 2000.

Fukuda Norihiko, Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly member, on July 30, 2006.

Genba Kouichirou, House of Representatives incumbent (Fukushima 2nd district and Tohoku PR bloc and Fukushima 3rd district), on September 26, 1995; February 18, 1997 and July 5, 2000.

Genba Mikiko, Hana no Kai spokes woman, on June 22, 2000.

Iguchi Mami, 2000 Lower House candidate (Kanagawa 9th district), on July 13, 2000.

Kasuya Youko, Secretary for Matsuzawa Shigefumi and Kawasaki City Council member (Takatsu ward), on April 20, 1997 and June 14, 2000.

Matsuzawa Shigefumi, House of Representatives (Kanagawa 2nd and 9th districts) incumbent, on October 30, 1995; February 5, 1997; July 6, 2000 and July 11, 2000.

Oba Hideki, 1996 Field Representative and Campaign Scheduler, on November 16, 1996 and June 22, 2000.

Ogawa Eiichi, 1996 and 2000 Lower House candidate (Kanagawa 9th district), on July 4, 2000.

Yukiko Owaga, Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly member (Takatsu ward), on July 4, 2000.

–  –  –

Watanabe Osamu, 1996 and 2000 Lower House election Campaign Manager for Genba Kouichirou, on November 16, 1996 and June 22, 2000.

Usami Noboru, House of Representatives incumbent and challenger, on September 22, 1995; February 14, 1997 and July 11, 2000.

–  –  –

The Japanese style of election campaigning has long been seen as very distinctive and as dysfunctional for democratic accountability by Western political scientists and Japanese political participants alike. Major reforms in the 1990s were aimed at moving election campaigns away from traditional Japanese patterns and toward contemporary Western practices. This study evaluates the effect of the reforms on campaign strategies by closely observing three candidates, representing suburban, urban, and rural Lower House electoral districts, through three elections: in 1993, before the reform, and in 1996 and 2000 afterward. The candidates were selected to maximize the likelihood of adopting non-traditional new strategies—all were young, represented new reformist parties, and studied Western-style politics at the prestigious Matsushita Institute of Government and Management (MIGM). Nonetheless, we found that the traditional strategies of mobilization through social ties were quite prevalent and actually more central in 1996 than before the reform, although some trends to the contrary were observable in 2000. Analysis of variations in campaign behavior cross-sectionally and over time helps us sort out explanations for distinctive Japanese patterns, and assess the likelihood of further change.

–  –  –

Over three decades have passed since Gerald Curtis’ comprehensive study on Japanese election campaign behavior, Election Campaigning Japanese Style (Curtis 1971). Curtis’ study of one candidate’s campaign behavior for the 1967 Lower House election remains one of the few contributions to election studies entirely dedicated to election campaign strategy. How has Japanese election campaigning changed since it was first described some forty years ago?

Back then, Curtis (1971: 252) predicted:

The direction of change appears unmistakable. Increasing reliance on utilizing the mass media is paralleled by a decreasing reliance on local politicians....

There can be little doubt that over time campaign strategy in Japan, as in the United States and Western Europe, will emphasize more and more associational rather than community interests and appeals to the electorate through wide exposure and skillful use of the media rather than through the recruiting of voters into personal support organizations.

To what extent has it happened? In particular, how was behavior affected by a major electoral system reform explicitly aimed at modernizing campaigning? And why is campaign modernization an important political goal? These are the concerns of this dissertation.

Our methodology is similar to Curtis in that it is based on participant-observation, although we are broad where he is deep—rather than a year spent on a single campaign, we examine the campaigns of three candidates across three elections. One election

–  –  –

districts that are urban, suburban, and rural, because the urban-rural dimension has always been the main factor in differentiating campaigning and indeed most everything in Japanese political behavior.

Our three candidates are in no sense a randomly selected sample, however.

Because we wanted to study change in campaigning we needed to maximize the chances of observing change. Looking at campaigns of a twenty-year incumbent in the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) would be interesting but not promising for our purposes.

We maximized those changes (and at the same time controlled for several factors) by choosing: 1) New and young candidates, contesting their first national-level campaign in 1993 at ages from 25 to 35; 2) Candidates not associated with the LDP but with new opposition parties; and 3) Candidates who were graduates of an unusual post-graduate school, the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, which was aimed specifically at producing a new breed of politicians, in how they campaign and ultimately how they govern.

These were our key criteria at the start. When the research began in 1993, we did not know that the electoral system would be reformed in the following year. That was a happy accident for the project that became the major focus for this dissertation.

Analyzing Japanese Election Campaigns Japanese politicians (and journalists and scholars who write about them) tend to describe and explain electoral behavior, including campaign strategies and tactics, in terms of various dichotomies. Some are dichotomies that are commonly employed in

–  –  –

There is a common tendency in fact to conflate these dichotomies. Many pages could be devoted to explaining each of these dichotomies. Such explanations, however, are unnecessary for our purposes.

Here is a list, long though not exhaustive, of the conventional dichotomies

characterizing Japanese electoral behavior:

traditional vs modern, • old-style vs new-style • rural vs urban, • older vs younger (voters and candidates) • Japanese vs western • past vs future • relationships vs media • low political knowledge vs high • low political interest vs high • “hard” or “gathered” vote vs “floating” vote • socially imbedded vs autonomous voters • culturally vs structurally determined • secretly spent vs openly accounted money • selective vs broad policy appeals • community vs economic interests • candidate-centered vs party or issue-centered • mediated vs direct candidate-voter relationship • veteran vs newcomer politicians • retail politics vs wholesale politics • tailored to the multi-member district vs single-member or proportional district • representation These dichotomies represent different dimensions, even different kinds of dimensions.

Most are not truly dichotomies; rather they are continua with points in between.

Moreover, they do not always all go together.

That is, if we were to measure each of a large number of election campaigns along each of these continua, we certainly would not see perfect covariance—for example,

–  –  –

quite impossible and not very interesting. For our purposes, the point is not to examine each of these factors (the dichotomies or continua), or to establish how independent or correlated they are. Rather, the important point is that Japanese politicians, as well as journalistic and scholarly observers of election campaigns, typically think of election campaigns in terms of these factors, and they think of them as clustering together— everything on the left makes up one type, and everything on the right makes up the opposite type. No particular campaign will be purely one or the other, but candidates, or election campaigns in different elections, can be characterized as more or less one or the other.

Precisely because Japanese candidates think in, or behave according to these dichotomous terms, we use them as our basic descriptive tool for analyzing campaigns.

So far as what to call them, we should not just use one of the factors as the names—say, “traditional vs modern,” or “mediated vs direct.” That would be essentialist, privileging one of the factors over the others, and misleading. So the expressions we will use are deliberately contentless—a “Type A” campaign strategy represents everything on the left of the list, while a “Type B” campaign strategy represents everything on the right. Curtis (1971) was confident that Japanese election campaign strategies would move from Type A to Type B, and many scholars since have made similar predictions. Indeed, as will be seen in the review of the literature on the 1994 electoral reform (next chapter), a goal of the reformers was to move Japanese campaigns from A to B. Our study will evaluate how well that effort worked.

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