Dynasties and Democracy in Japan

Colloquium | February 1 | 4 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Daniel M. Smith, Associate Professor, Harvard University

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

Political dynasties exist in all democracies, but have been conspicuously prevalent in Japan, where over a third of legislators and two-thirds of cabinet ministers come from families with a history in parliament. In his new book, Dynasties and Democracy: The Inherited Incumbency Advantage in Japan, Daniel M. Smith introduces a comparative theory to explain the persistence of dynastic politics in democracies like Japan, and explores the implications of this theory for candidate selection, election, and cabinet promotion, as well as the impact of dynasties on the quality of representation.

Daniel M. Smith is Associate Professor in the Department of Government. His research focuses primarily on political parties, candidate selection, elections and electoral systems, and coalition government, particularly in Japan. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the University of California, San Diego, and his B.A. in political science and Italian from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has conducted research in Japan as a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology research scholar at Chuo University, and as a Fulbright research fellow at the University of Tokyo. Prior to joining the Department of Government, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

 cjs@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3415