Robert J. Pekkanen
The focus of this class is on political parties in Japan. Democracy, representation, and governance are addressed through that lens. Modern representative democracy is inconceivable without political parties. We will also investigate South Korean political parties, but the bulk of our attention is on Japan. The class will combine theoretical readings on political parties with an intensive study of Japanese political parties. Students with either a good general understanding of Japanís postwar political history or a thorough knowledge of political party theory (but both are not required) will be best positioned to succeed in the course. Topics include: democracy and representation, parties and party competition, Japanese political parties pre-1993, party system change, Japanese political parties since 1993, electoral reform causes and consequences, factions in Japanese parties, koenkai (personal support organizations), policy-making and PARC, the Diet, coalition government, interest groups and political parties, parties and voters.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Seminar. Focus on learning through close reading and discussion in this small group.
Either (1) A general post-war Japanese history class, or (2) theoretical training in political parties. A general familiarity with either will be great preparation, although no student would be expected to have trained in both.
Class assignments and grading
Either short papers during the quarter or one long paper at the end of the quarter.
Class participation is an important component, as are the papers (several short ones or one long one).