Author: Krzysztof Karolczak
Year of publication: 1998
Source: Show
Pages: 67-76
DOI Address:
PDF: ap/1/ap103.pdf

Japanese democracy – tatemae or honne?

Some elements of the political system of the country are analysed as a contradiction between an official appearance and social reality. Assuming that the democratic system works as a political facade the author puts it on the side of the appearance i.e. tatemae. That contradiction results from different cultural patterns between the East and West, while political democracy standard belongs to the latter. It was introduced in a non-democratic way and is so implemented to a certain extent due to the domination of a vertical system of social dependencies, existing in all aspects of life. It is threated not as a direction how to run and organize their society, but rather as an instrument for settlement of disputes which, by the very nature of the Japanese society, should not exist. The results from the network of group interdependencies, based on the clientelism and from the network “an iron triangle” emerges: the ruling party, bureaucracy and financial elites. The lack of full democracy is also demonstrated by the existence of big discriminated groups of population as burakumins, Koreans and women. The inequality hurts also the others, though it does not result from imperfect law but rather from social practice determined by the cultural values.

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