Multilevel relations in Japanese political parties at the beginning of the post-war period: Hokkaido as a case study

Saunavaara, Juha GND

The recent political turmoil challenges one to study the function and form of the post-war Japanese political parties. The obvious differences in the spatial and temporal contexts do not change the fact that many of the organizational behavioral patterns that are topical in the analysis of the current situation can be found in the parties that were established during the erratic years following Japan’s defeat. With a focus on intra-party relations and on the multilayered institutional environment in which the political parties operate, this article focuses on Hokkaido, a region which analysts of Japanese political parties have often ignored. While demonstrating (a) the interconnectedness of different spheres in the political system, (b) the varying roles of central party organs in the development of local party branches, and (c) the personal relations prevailing over the official organizational channels, the analysis of the control and granting of autonomy pays special attention to the first gubernatorial elections in Hokkaido. This is because the electoral competitions and the creation of electoral products are recognized as moments when the relations between local branches and central leadership are defined.