Voters' Perceptions and Evaluations of Dynastic Politics in Japan

Author Name MIWA Hirofumi (Gakushuin University) / KASUYA Yuko (Keio University) / ONO Yoshikuni (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. December 2022 22-E-113
Research Project Advanced Technology and Democracy: Does new technology help or hurt democracy?
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Political family dynasties are a staple part of Japanese politics. According to one study, Japan has the fourth highest number of dynastic politicians among democratic countries, after Thailand, the Philippines, and Iceland. As a result, many scholars have qualitatively studied how these political families are born and managed. In contrast to the abundance of qualitative research, however, very little quantitative research has focused on how Japanese voters view political dynasties. To understand this question, we conducted two nationwide surveys. Our major findings are that while the majority of respondents dislike dynastic candidates, they also value specific attributes of dynastic candidates, such as their political networks, their potential for ministerial appointments, and their ability to bring “pork projects” to their constituencies. These results serve as benchmark information on dynastic politics in Japan. They are also distinct from the findings of existing studies that Japanese voters are neutral about whether a candidate is from a dynastic family in voting decisions.

Published: Miwa, Hirofumi, Yuko Kasuya, and Yoshikuni Ono, 2023. "Voters’ perceptions and evaluations of dynastic politics in Japan," Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, Volume 8, Issue 3 (2023), 671-688.