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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo
Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F, 7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0094, Japan


International workshop

Improving the people’s lot? Different conceptions of well-being between promises and reality

29. Juli - 30. Juli 2014

This multi-disciplinary workshop brought together a group of scholars from the fields of political science, history, religious studies and economics to explore how political actors, religions and ideologies have promised to improve the well-being of individuals and how these promises and the policies that may follow, have been perceived by the people. As the establishment of government commissions studying well-being in many industrialized nations including Germany and Japan has shown, these questions have gained significant importance in today’s pluralized societies. In these societies, it has become common knowledge that material wealth alone does not make people happy. Moreover, pre-determined value sets describing how to live a fulfilled life as prescribed by ideologies, unions or churches are not as influential as they used to be. These changes make the aforementioned questions even more relevant for the academic community and society as a whole.

Supported by:
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung


Tag 1         29. Juli (Dienstag)

9:30 - 9:40 Uhr
Opening Remarks

Florian Coulmas

Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

9:40 - 10:00 Uhr
Introduction to the workshop

Chris Winkler

Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

10:00 - 12:00 Uhr
Session 1: Ideology, religion and well-being in Japan – Different concepts in past, present and future

The Liberal Conception of the Pursuit of Happiness Reconsidered

Tatsuo Inoue, Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo

Shinto Concepts of Happiness

Helen Hardacre, Reischauer Institute, Harvard University

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Imaginations of Well-Being in Imperial Japan

Torsten Weber

Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


14:30 - 17:15 Uhr
Session 2: Voters: Changing perceptions and receptions

Political Parties, Social Groups and Voters’ Satisfaction in Contemporary Japan

Yutaka Tsujinaka, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba

Unhappy and nationalistic? The Determinants of Anti-Chinese Sentiments in Japan

Rieko Kage, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo

How Do Independent Voters Evaluate the Government?

Kenneth Mori Mc Elwain, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan

Analyzing the link between political participation and happiness: A perspective from Japan

Tim Tiefenbach

Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


Tag 2         30. Juli (Mittwoch)

9:30 - 11:30 Uhr
Session 3: Political parties and the promise of well-being between promises and reality

Insider-Outsider Dilemma: Rengo’s Political Activities under the DPJ Government

Mari Miura, Faculty of Law, Sophia University

Well-being through Welfare? - Komeito and the lot of the "masses"

Axel Klein, IN EAST, University of Duisburg-Essen

Major Political parties’ promise of happiness between materialism and post-materialism – Observations from cross-country manifesto analysis

Chris Winkler

Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


13:30 - 16:15 Uhr
Session 4: Public policy and happiness

Public philosophy and happiness

Takao Katsuragi, Faculty of Law, Gakushuin University

Local initiatives for improvement of people’s well-beings in Japan: Can local governments collaborate with local people?

Takayoshi Kusago, Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University

The Welfare State and Human Well-Being

Alexander Pacek, Department of Political Science, Texas A&M

Between the Promise and Reality of Democracy as a Panacea for Well-Being: Assessing the Consequences of Direct Democracy on Life Satisfaction

(Benjamin Radcliff, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame; together with Gregory Shufeldt


16:15 - 17:15 Uhr
Final discussion

18:30 - 20:00 Uhr
Panel Discussion (DIJ Forum)

Improving the people’s lot? Well-being between promise and reality

Benjamin Radcliff, Helen Hardacre, Takayoshi Kusago, Kenneth Mori McElwain; Host: Axel Klein

Verwandte Forschungsprojekte

Glück und Unglück in Japan: Kontinuitäten und Diskontinuitäten