This landmark work surveys the major factors that influence voting behavior in Japan. It is the first comprehensive study of the Japanese voter to be written for English-speaking audiences.
It is commonly believed that Japanese voting behavior cannot be compared to voting behavior in the West because it is not determined by the same kinds of group loyalties, interests, and attitudes but rather by unique patterns of personalistic networks and group mobilization. However this book demonstrates through a wide range of examples that there are recognizable bases of comparison between Japanese and Western voting behavior. It also produces a number of fascinating contrasts with voting in the West, because Japan is different, even if it is not unique. Thus we learn about the relative absence of economic voting, the weak role of the media, the continuing importance of cultural values, the enormous stability in voting patterns, and the effects of the unusual Japanese electoral system. Drawing on data from the 1950s onward, the book includes coverage of the most recent national elections in Japan.