Book Announcement: Kōmeitō: Politics and Religion in Japan

KomeitoKōmeitō: Politics and Religion in Japan

Ehrhardt, George, Axel Klein, Levi McLaughlin, and Steven R. Reed, editors
Japan Research Monograph 18
2014. 298 pp.
ISBN-13 978-1-55729-111-0
ISBN-10 1-55729-111-X

The book covers Kōmeitō’s founding in Nichiren Buddhist doctrinal mandates and its subsequent development into an institutionally distinct political entity. Much of the volume deals with matters pertaining to political science – policy formation, candidate selection, electioneering, fund-raising, and strategies for operating in coalition – while others detail collaborations and conflicts generated by Kōmeitō’s origins in Sōka Gakkai, Japan’s largest active religious organization. It is the first book-length scholarly treatment of Kōmeitō, in any language, to appear in more than forty years. And it is coming out as Kōmeitō marks its fiftieth anniversary. A blurb and the table of contents:

“Anyone interested in contemporary Japanese politics needs to read this book. Certainly, no student of Japanese party politics can afford not to read it. This volume illuminates Komeito’s history, organization, electoral mobilization, and behavior in and out of power. More importantly, this book reorients our understanding of the intersection of religion and politics in Japan, a topic that has danced along the periphery of academic studies even as it has grabbed headlines in Japan and beyond. My only question is why scholars had to wait fifty years for such an incisive study of Komeito.”

–Robert Pekkanen, University of Washington

Part I. Introduction

  1. Kōmeitō: The Most Understudied Party of Japanese Politics — 3
    George Ehrhardt, Axel Klein, Levi McLaughlin & Steven R. Reed

Part II. The Context

  1. Religious Groups in Japanese Electoral Politics — 25
    Axel Klein & Steven R. Reed

Part III. The History

  1. Electioneering as Religious Practice: A History of Sōka Gakkai’s Political Activities to 1970 — 51
    Levi McLaughlin
    4. Kōmeitō’s Uncertain Decades between Religion and Politics — 83
    Yuki Abe & Masahisa Endo

Part IV. The Structure

  1. How Kōmeitō Politicians Get Elected — 113
    George Ehrhardt
    6. Party Ideals and Practical Constraints in Kōmeitō Candidate Nominations — 139
    Daniel Markham Smith
    7. Sōka Gakkai, Kōmeitō, and Money in Japanese Politics — 163
    Matthew Carlson
    8. Housewife Voters and Kōmeitō Policies — 187
    George Ehrhardt

Part V. The Way to Power

  1. Anti-Kōmeitō Counter-Mobilizations — 215
    Axel Klein & Steven R. Reed
    10. Kōmeitō in Coalition — 240
    Linda Hasunuma & Axel Klein

Part VI. Conclusion

  1. Kōmeitō: Religion and Politics in Japan — 269
    George Ehrhardt, Axel Klein, Levi McLaughlin, Steven R. Reed

List of contributors — 277

Index — 279
Levi McLaughlin

North Carolina State University


About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of graduate life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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