*/ DIJ - Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien



International workshop

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

29.07.2014 - 30.07.2014


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


09:30 – 09:40 Opening Remarks
  Florian Coulmas

09:40 – 10:00 Introduction to the workshop
  Chris Winkler

10:00 – 12:00 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


14:30 – 17:15 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


09:30 – 11:30 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


13:30 – 16:15 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 Final discussion
18:30 – 20:00 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


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



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