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The Rise of Consumer–Oriented Politics in Japan? Exploring the Party–Citizen Relationship through Discourse Analysis



This article analyses the discourse of three prime ministers – Koizumi, Aso, and Hatoyama – to explore how each leader identified the political self and constructed and promoted a particular relationship with the voter before the general elections. The outcome indicates the emergence of a new political communication style based on a party–citizen relationship as business–consumer. Whereas Aso's patron–client discourse pinpoints the role of the responsible and bureaucratic state in protecting Japan, the business–consumer discourse of both Koizumi and Hatoyama demonstrates the entrepreneurial leaders’ willingness to listen to individuals in order to meet their needs and expectations. We speculate that the social norms and values of the business–consumer model might have played a role in attracting a large number of unorganized voters to Koizumi in 2005 and in turn to Hatoyama in 2009.



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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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