The Complex Political Context of Conservative Mobilization in Japan: Utilizing the Event Data from Periodicals

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Yoojin KOO, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Since the 1990s, conservative movements have become more conspicuous in the Japanese sociopolitical arena, exemplified by initiatives advocating historical revisionism in textbooks, patriotic grassroots movements weighing national pride, and movements against voting rights for foreign residents. What triggers such conservative movements in Japan? Social movement scholars have produced much research on political opportunity structures tracing the relationship between movements and political contexts. Similarly, researchers have paid close attention to the political and/or policy threats. Drawing on both literatures, this paper explores how political opportunities and threats affect conservative mobilization in Japan.
Here, however, methodological issues arise. How can we conduct researches on conservative or right-wing movements, when researches are often regarded as hardly sympathizing with the movement? How can we obtain appropriate data on conservative mobilization? One might regularly participate in and observe certain conservative meetings and have in-depth interviews with participants, as qualitative method suggests. Though these researches are extremely insightful, methodological limitation still remains.
With this in account, this paper attempts to provide another research method in studying conservative movements in Japan: creating the event data from conservative organizations’ periodicals. Unlike previous researches, utilizing periodicals mainly for discourse analysis, this paper utilizes them for numbers: the number of events and participants. This attempt also intends to provide a clue for a quantitative research design on conservative movements, where such data sources are rare. With the event data from periodicals of  “Japan Conference,” the conservative umbrella group with the largest membership in Japan dealing with various conservative policy drives such as constitutional revision, consisting of date, claims, place, and mobilizing number of participants, this paper examines the relationship between conservative mobilization (the number of participants) and wider political contexts. With multilevel regression analysis, the paper contributes to giving fresh light on studies of conservative mobilization.