chapter  2
13 Pages

Four cultures of Japanese politics

ByDavid Leheny

The victory of the ideologically riven but partly progressive Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in 2009 over the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was described breathlessly by some as an epochal seiken ko¯tai (meaning a “change in government” but with a far more dramatic feeling in Japanese), and derided by others as a partly meaningless shift in leadership over a rudderless state. A year later, after the fall of the fi rst DPJ government and Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio’s replacement by Kan Naoto, observers found themselves grasping for ways to frame Hatoyama’s striking meltdown and the probable challenges facing Kan.