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Japan's Backroom Politics

Factions in a Multiparty Age

Translated with commentary by Robert D. Eldridge - Watanabe Tsuneo

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Japan’s Backroom Politics is the translation of a classic study of the rough and tumble of Japanese politics and conservative party factions in the first two decades of postwar Japan. The original book, published in 1967, was written by the preeminent political writer at the time, Watanabe Tsuneo, who later became the controversial owner of the Yomiuri Shimbun. The book was written when a generational change was occurring in Japanese politics after several of the early party leaders had passed away, including his political mentor, Ono Bamboku. Comprising ten chapters, including a comprehensive preface on the author, Japan’s Backroom Politics discusses in great detail the history of and personalities within the near-dozen factions and sub-factions that existed at the time. He introduces the resiliency of factions within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, noting the role of money, influence, party presidency, and the chance at the premiership, among other factors, which subsequent commentators and scholars have elaborated on. Moreover, using extensive data and a penetrating analysis, Watanabe provides a historical as well as an international comparison of Japanese factions, making predictions about the future of Japanese politics. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 292Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-7389-3 • Hardback • September 2013 • $105.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7391-8635-0 • Paperback • May 2017 • $44.99 • (£29.95)
978-0-7391-7390-9 • eBook • September 2013 • $104.99 • (£70.00)
Robert D. Eldridge is a former tenured associate professor of Japanese political and diplomatic history at the School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, and the author, editor, or translator of nearly 20 books, including Secret Talks between Tokyo and Washington: The Memoirs of Miyazawa Kiichi, 1949-1954, also from Lexington Books. A 23-year resident of Japan, Eldridge is currently working on a book about the postwar prime ministers of Japan while serving as the political adviser to the United States Marine Corps in Okinawa.
Introduction: The Defeated One: The Decline of Party Politicians
Chapter 1: The Backroom: Testimonies of Party Leadership Elections
Chapter 2: Popularity: Leadership and the People
Chapter 3: Money: The Basis for Politics
Chapter 4: Factions, Part 1: Steps to an Administration
Chapter 5: Factions, Part 2: Background of Leaders
Chapter 6: Multiparty Age: Undercurrents of the 1967 Elections
Chapter 7: The Myth of a Two-Party System: Recommendations for a Multiparty System
Chapter 8: The End of Backroom Politics: Administrations in a Multiparty Age
Afterword
Robert Eldridge's translation of Tsuneo's 1967 book on political factions in Japan in the 1950s and 1960s is an invaluable reference for serious students of the formative years of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Eldridge prefaces Tsuneo's work with an examination of Tsuneo's years as a political reporter and his access to key faction leaders. The preface provides important insights into the professional and personal relationships among politicians and reporters in Japan. Tsuneo's work is composed of an introduction, eight chapters, and an afterword. The first chapter discusses the Machiavellian nature of backroom deals forged to secure key positions in the LDP and cabinet. The next two chapters examine the role of public support (popularity) and political fund-raising in the quest for and exercise of political power. Chapters 4 and 5 set forth the why and how of faction formation and dissolution. The final three chapters set forth Tsuneo's contention that a multiparty, not a two-party, system is emerging in Japan. Along with this multiparty system will come a decline in backroom politics and a rise in the need for politicians to appeal to the public to achieve political prominence. This work is recommended for graduate collections on Japan. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate and research collections.

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