Podcast: Liberal Democratic Japan

Liberal Democratic Japan

Tobias Harris of Observing Japan and I hit Showa Era-themed izakaya Hanbey for some Hoppy and discussion on Japan’s status as a liberal democracy. Ironically, Japan’s best change of becoming a liberal democracy is the removal of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

In little under one hour, our conversation tackles the upcoming election, the Democratic Party of Japan’s (DPJ) agenda, and whether Japan will become more liberal and more democratic in the future. (This podcast was recorded on July 23.)

Download: Politics at Hanbey: Marxy x Tobias Harris on Japan as a Liberal Democracy (mp3 no longer available)
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W. David MARX
August 5, 2009

W. David Marx (Marxy) — Tokyo-based writer and musician — is the founder and chief editor of Néojaponisme.

7 Responses

  1. Mulboyne Says:

    The background noise seems very distracting. Perhaps it would be better if I wasn’t using headphones but a more friendly venue for recording might be advisable next time. I’ll listen on but I keep turning around to see who’s coming in the door when I hear “irashaimase!” Maybe I’m just grouchy because no-one has brought me a menu yet.

  2. W. David MARX Says:

    Wait, you can record in quieter places? Now I’ve heard everything!

  3. Peter Says:

    The hamburger joint at the bottom of Ginza 5. That’d be one place I’d think of recording.

    I don’t think there’s any hoppy on the menu, though.

  4. xee Says:

    Marxy always drinking Hoppy when he goes out is somehow so fitting! You are a walking endorsement!

    Here’s a thing I don’t understand:
    T HARRIS:
    the alliance between state and society,
    and actually one obstacle, a serious obstacle to the emergence of liberalism here
    is the idea that people still look to the state when something is wrong
    and it’s actually something that Ozawa’s – why do Japanese consumers look to the government, to authority figures, when something goes wrong;
    how do we create a Japanese who solve problems for themselves and don’t look to authority when something need to be fixed

    I don’t really see how this fits with the previous stuff about how Japan’s government needs to develop a welfare state, rather than relying on the system, on families and private companies, to perform welfare functions. I mean– this is a call for the Japanese to look to authority more, surely!

    I liked the point on how performative reactionary conservatism has become recently but I’m afraid I’m a lot less sanguine about it, I do think that those tactics – repeating and repeating, books-on-shelves to create the appearance of popularity, smug yasukuni photo-ops – are very successful. They sort of add up to a “i know you’re pretending you don’t think like this but at bedrock you do”, an ‘if you were 2chanonymous or old and unquestioned like we are you’d be free to say what you really feel and what you really feel is [right-wing nonsense]’ and that sort of id talk has always struck me as dangerous.

  5. Eddie H Says:

    good to hear Tobias pretend laughter at Marxy’s Jokes at the beginning.

  6. W. David MARX Says:

    He’s that nice.

  7. Eddie H Says:

    He is indeed. I listened to most of the podcast but after a while the background noise was a lot more revealing about the state of Japan than two precocious Americans mouthing off about this and that, not really making much sense at all.