Updated on 2023/09/30


JOU, Willy
Faculty of Political Science and Economics, School of Political Science and Economics
Job title
Associate Professor

Research Projects

  • Japanese Elite's Idea of Equality and Change of Policy Network in the Global Age

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  • Innovative approach for the Asian Barometer Wave 5 survey containing comparative experiments on political culture

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Internal Special Research Projects

  • Exploring the Quality of Policy Representation in East Asian Democracies


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    I would like to express my appreciation for the generous funding provided by the Grant for Special Research Projects, which gave me opportunities to attend and present at a number of conferences both in Japan and abroad, and also to purchase books related to my research as well as computing equipments. Details about each conference are provided below.In October 2012, I attended the annual meeting of the Japan Political Science Association, held in Fukuoka. Papers presented in the panels that I went to covered topics such as ideological polarization in the United States as seen through legislative votes and mass social movements, the emergence of a new 'left' in South Korea based on wealthy and high educated urban supporters, changes in the dynamics of party support in postwar Iraq, the influence of the North Korean issue in Japanese politics in the early and mid-2000s, and the evolution of Christian democratic parties in Belgium, Germany, and France after the end of the Cold War. All of these topics are related to my research on ideology and party preference.In November 2012, I presented a co-authored paper at a Japan studies conference held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This paper focused on party leader evaluations as a factor that affects vote choice in Japan. The phenomenon of "personalization" of politics has been noted by scholars in recent years; this paper looks at whether the phenomenon is also observed in Japan, and if so whether the electoral impact of leaders has changed over time or varied by party. Gathering and analyzing a series of public opinion survey data that span a quarter-century, including datasets collected by a research unit at Waseda University since the mid-2000s, results show that assessment of party leaders has come to play a more significant role in their vote choice since the 2000s, and that this is not merely associated with the "Koizumi theater", but instead likely represents a long-term structural trend.In January 2013, I presented a paper at the (US-based) Japan Studies Association conference held in Honolulu. In view of the rapid rise of Osaka Ishin no Kai rose as a regional party (and the success of its national counterpart, Nippon Ishin no Kai), I set out to explore factors that underpin the party's support. Analyzing a survey conducted in the aftermath of the Osaka mayoral and gubernatorial elections in 2011, I examined the relative impact of national and local pride, preference for deficit reduction versus economic stimulus, ideological orientation, personal ratings of Ishin no Kai candidates, and support for extant national parties that backed their rivals (Liberal Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Japan, Japan Communist Party), and found that personal evaluations exerted an overwhelming influence which overshadowed all other variables.In March 2013, I went to the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and presented a co-authored paper on the relationship between individual ideological orientations and the ideological distance between citizens and their governments on one hand, and levels of life satisfaction (i.e. happiness) on the other. Compiling and analyzing public opinion survey data from 40 countries over more than two decades, the paper challenges previous findings that right-leaning citizens are happier than those on the left, and shows instead a curvilinear relationship: citizens on both extremes report higher life satisfaction than those in the middle. Furthermore, in the case of centrists, being close to the ideological position of one's own government makes one happier; but this effect does not apply to extremists.Among the three conference papers described above, one is currently under review by a journal, while another has been accepted for publication by the International Political Science Review.

  • Classifying political parties in Asia: A comparative study of party systems in East and Southeast Asian democracies


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    I am most grateful for the Waseda University Grant for Special Research Projects (project title: Classifying political parties in Asia), which has allowed me to attend several conferences and consult with colleagues both within Japan and abroad, as well as to purchase many books relevant to my research theme.The Waseda University Grant for Special Research Projects permitted me to attend the annual conference of the Japanese Association of Electoral Studies in Okayama last year. In addition to panels on voting behavior in Japan, I also participated in a session focusing on elections and parties in South Korea and Taiwan.In March 2012, I went to Milan (Italy) to meet with scholars with whom I published a paper on the impact of citizens' ideological orientation and electoral winner/loser status on attitudes toward democracy. We plan to present another paper on the effect of voter-government ideological distance on satisfaction with life at an international conference in July 2012, and submit it to a journal after revisions.Furthermore, I presented at a conference held in Braga (Portugal) in March 2012 on the topic of whether and how citizens in new democracies, including several Asian countries, comprehend ideological semantics of "left" and "right". Since the left-right cleavage often encapsulates the central axis of political competition, analyzing what policy positions and/or values structure left and right can provide important insights into issue dimensions that distinguish political parties across countries.Lastly, one manuscript prepared during the grant period is now in its final preparation stage, and will be submitted to a journal soon.