Can a constitutional monarch influence democratic preferences? Japanese emperor and the regulation of public expression

Susumu Annaka, Gento Kato*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study examines whether hereditary constitutional monarchs have any influence on democratic public opinion, focusing on the case of the Japanese emperor. Methods: A survey experiment on the regulation of public expression. This issue can be framed both as left wing (i.e., the regulation of hate speech) and right wing (i.e., the regulation of publicly funded anti-nationalistic exhibitions). Taking advantage of the dual nature of the issue, we test the effects of the emperor's endorsement on support for regulation under each ideological frame. Results: The (former) emperor's endorsement for freedom of expression does have a cross-cutting effect and decreases support for regulation. This effect is relatively small but statistically significant. Additionally, the findings provide weak evidence for the emperor's own ideological position conditioning his endorsement effect. Conclusion: Hereditary monarchs do influence democratic public opinion, and their influence can cross-cut ideology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-708
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume103
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • constitutional monarch
  • emperor
  • endorsement
  • freedom of expression
  • Japan
  • public opinion
  • survey experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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