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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robert J. Pekkanen
SISEA 536
Seattle Campus

Political Parties in Japan and East Asia

Focus on political parties in Japan. Combines theoretical readings on political parties with intensive study of Japanese political parties. Recommended: either SISEA 242, SISEA 423, SISEA 440, or SISEA 442.

Class description

Course Goals: This course is designed to provide an in-depth examination of how representative, or party, democracy functions in Japan. Students will learn theoretical perspectives on political parties and democracy, and we will also examine South Korean party politics.

Course Description: 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

Small seminar. Discussion based, so active participation is essential.

Recommended preparation

Either an understanding of Japan's postwar political history or a knowledge of political party theory. Recommended: either SISEA 242, SISEA 423, SISEA 440, or SISEA 442.

Class assignments and grading

Paper based. No exams. You have two options for papers. You may select the short papers option or the long paper option. The long paper option requires you to produce a Paper Prospectus of 2-5 pages that clearly outlines the topic, argument, and sources for a paper to be turned in at the end of the quarter. The final paper should be 20-30 pages, although shorter or longer papers are permissible.

The short paper option requires four short papers (5 pages maximum) throughout the quarter. Each paper is due at 3 PM the day before class meets. No late papers will be accepted for short papers. These papers are based on the readings for that particular week and are written in response to questions provided in advance. These papers should make reference to all relevant readings for that week, but not use any outside sources (the optional readings are okay). If you take the short paper option, you do not have to write a 1 page weekly paper on the weeks for which you write a short paper.

Long Paper Option: 1 page weekly papers 10 Papers 10% March 18th Paper Prospectus 10% June 6th Final Paper 50% Throughout Term Class Participation 30%

Short Papers Option 1 page weekly papers 6 Papers 6% 4 times in term Short Papers 64% Throughout Term Class Participation 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Robert J. Pekkanen
Date: 11/21/2005