Contemporary Japanese Politics Study Group

The Contemporary Japanese Politics Study Group is co-sponsored by the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA), and the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. It offers opportunities for advanced Ph.D. students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars to circulate their works-in-progress (conference paper, draft dissertation chapter etc.) and receive feedback. The study group’s invitation list includes over fifty faculty, graduate students, and others at Harvard and in the greater Boston and New England region. The Study Group is chaired by Susan Pharr and Daniel Smith of the Department of Government, and is co-sponsored with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. For more information, please contact Shinju Fujihira (sfujihira (at), Executive Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations. 

Due to COVID-19, in-person meetings of the study group have been suspended until further notice. 


Risa Kitagawa (Northeastern University), “The Impact of Political Apologies on Public Opinion: Survey Experimental Evidence from Japan and the U.S.” (April)

Taishi Muraoka (WCFIA Program on U.S.-Japan Relations), “Capturing Vote-Seeking Incentives and the Cultivation of a Personal and Party Vote” (March)

Daniel Smith (Harvard University), “Destruction from Above: Long-Term Impacts of World War II Tokyo Air Raids” (November)


Kristin Vekasi (University of Maine), “Political Shocks and the Japanese Firm in China” (April)

Scott Wilbur (Yale University), "Fright or Fait Accompli: A Case Study of Zombie Firms among Japanese SME" (February)

Benjamin Bartlett (WCFIA Program on U.S.-Japan Relations), “Cyber Security Capacity-Building in Comparative Perspective” (November)


Rieko Kage (University of Tokyo & WCFIA Program on U.S.-Japan Relations), “Positive and Negative Attitudes toward Immigrants: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Japan” (March)

Kiichiro Arai (Tokyo Metropolitan University & Reischauer Institute), "Voters Punish Local Governments for Natural Disasters: Evidence from the 2015 Kinu River Flood in Japan." (February)

Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College), “Source Cues or Policy Considerations: What Influences Foreign Public Opinion?” (November)


Frances Rosenbluth (Yale University), “Forged through Fire: Military Conflict and the Democratic Bargain” (April)

Justin Reeves (Harvard University and Southern Methodist University) and Daniel Smith (Harvard University), "Getting to Know Her: Information and Gender Bias in Preferential Voting Systems" (March)

Azusa Katagiri (Harvard University), “Analyzing Parliamentary Discourse: Security Risks in Asymmetric Alliance” (March)

Mark Ramseyer (Harvard Law School), "Identity Politics and Organized Crime in Japan: The Impact of Special Subsidies on Burakumin Communities" (November)


Yoshikuni Ono (Tohoku University and University of Wisconsin-Madison), "Do Voters Prefer Gender Stereotypic Candidates?: Evidence from a Conjoint Survey Experiment in Japan" (October)


Jennifer Lind (Dartmouth College), “Is Japanese Nationalism on the Rise?” (April)

Daniel Aldrich (Northeastern University), “It’s Whom You Know: Factors Driving Recovery from Japan’s 11 March 2011 Disaster” (February)

Reo Matsuzaki (Trinity College), “State-building through Administrative Brokerage: A Comparative Analysis of Taiwan and the Philippines under Colonial Rule” (December)

Konrad Kalicki (Harvard University), “Security Fears and Bureaucratic Rivalry: The Politics of Foreign Labor Admission in Japan and Taiwan” (October)


Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College), "Identifying Multidimensional Policy Preferences in Representative Democracies: A Conjoint Field Experiment in Japan" (May)

Ellis Krauss (University of California, San Diego), “Studying Japanese Politics: Reflections” (April)

Naofumi Fujimura (Kobe University and Harvard University) and Hiroki Kubo (Rice University), “Policy Positioning and Legislative Behavior: District-level Ideological Convergence and Motivation for National Policy in Japan” (March)

Mark Ramseyer (Harvard Law School), “Nuclear Power and the Mob: Extortion, Construction, and Social Capital in Japan” (February)

Amy Catalinac (Harvard University), “Candidate Positioning Under Majoritarian and Proportional Electoral Systems” (December)

Daniel Koss (Harvard University), "Where the Party Rules: Party-Based Authoritarianism and the Reach of the Chinese State" (October)

Adam Liff (Harvard & Indiana University), “Status Avoidance in International Politics” (October)



Matthew Carlson (University of Vermont), “Political Corruption in Japan” (May)

Chika Ogawa (Ph.D. candidate in Government, Harvard University), “Institutionalized Vengeance Killing: Private Violence and Public Order in Tokugawa Japan” (April)

Kenji Kushida (Stanford University), “The Politics of Commoditization in the Global ICT” (March)

Yukio Maeda (University of Tokyo and the Reischauer Institute), "The Effects of Prime Ministers’ Popularity on Aggregate Partisanship” (December)

Masamichi Ogawara (Associate Professor of Keio University and Reischauer Institute) and Yumi Shimabukuro (Columbia University), “The Missionary Roots of Democratic Failure in Japan” (November)

George Yin (Harvard University), “The Politics of Nationalist Mobilization in East Asia” (November)


Daniel Smith (Stanford & Harvard University), “Political Dynasties and the Distribution of Power in Legislatures: Evidence from Japan and Ireland” (May)

Shinju Fujihira (Harvard University), “Japan’s ‘Senkaku Problem’: Power Shift and Partisan Conflict” (April)

Yongwook Ryu (Australian National University), “Does the ‘History Problem’ Matter? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Japan” (March)

June Park (Boston University), “Trade Deficits, Protectionism, and Currency Debates” (December)

Nathan Cisneros (MIT), “The Labor Policy Process in Japan: From Collusion to Conflict” (November)

Amy Catalinac (Australian National University), “Pork to Policy: The Rise of National Security in Elections in Japan” (November)



Henry Laurence (Bowdoin), “Public Broadcasting in the Digital Era: The BBC and NHK Compared” (May)

Weston Konishi (Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis), “From Rhetoric to Reality: Foreign Policymaking under the Democratic Party of Japan” (April)

Nathan Cisneros (MIT), “The Politics of Labor Market Dualism in Japan” (April)



Tobias Harris (MIT), “The Politics of Civil-Military Relations in Japan” (April)

Celeste Arrington (Harvard & George Washington University), “Accidental Activists: How the Weak Hold the Government Accountable in Japan and Korea” (April)

Ippei Kamae (Boston University) and Jeehye Kim (Harvard), discussion of thesis prospectuses (March)

Thomas Berger (Boston University), “War, Guilt, and World Politics: The Politics of Historical Representation” (February)

Amy Catalinac (Harvard), “When Politicians Play with Fire: Explaining the Sudden Attention to Foreign and National Security Policy by Japan’s Political Leadership” (December)

Kenichi Ariga (Harvard), “Electoral Rules, Intra-Party Competition, and Incumbency Advantage” (November)

Yuki Takagi (Harvard), “Local Gossip and Intergenerational Family Transfers: Comparative Political Economy of Insurance Provision” (October)

Reo Matsuzaki (MIT), “Institution-Building under Foreign Occupations: Lessons from the Colonial Past” (October)

Walter Hatch (Colby), “Asia’s Flying Geese: How Regionalization Shapes Japan” (September)