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Rethinking the Komeito Voter


Drawing on five months of ethnography among rank-and-file Soka Gakkai members, this article takes issue with the conventional view of Komeito and Gakkai political socialization as one of group identity. It uses interviews and primary sources from Gakkai socialization practice to document how the two organizations appeal to Gakkai members by promoting the Komeito policy agenda, and how Gakkai members use the same arguments in search of non-Gakkai votes for the party. Social ties remain important, but they are vehicles for this policy message, not a justification for supporting Komeito. This makes Komeito leadership far more constrained in its political choices than is currently recognized. The article finishes by showing how this theory explains variation in Komeito electoral support better than a social identity alternative.

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Japanese Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 1468-1099
  • EISSN: 1474-0060
  • URL: /core/journals/japanese-journal-of-political-science
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