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.
About the Author
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.
Table of ContentsTranslator’s Preface
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