This paper examines the degree to which Japan exhibits the “New Political Culture,” conceptualized by Terry Clark and Ronald Inglehart (1990) to characterize advanced industrial or “post-industrial” societies. Clark and Inglehart base their “New Political Culture” (NPC) theory largely on data from Western Europe and the United States. They attempt to incorporate non-Western case studies, including Japan, but the data which they present outside of the West tends to be limited to just a few survey years. By contrast, this paper introduces and interprets longitudinal data and analyses accumulated by Japanese scholars since 1945. The results confirm some but call into question other aspects of the NPC, and also of the “post-industrial politics” framework proposed by Rempel and Clark in this volume’s introduction. Most importantly, whereas the NPC features a declining influence of traditional political organizations (e.g., parties) and a rise of citizen activism in “new social movements,” Japan has not evidenced the latter development. Instead, especially in the youngest generation, the more basic Japanese trend is towards rising political apathy.
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