For disharmony and strength : factionalism within the conservative parties in Japan 1945-1964
The numerous studies that exist on political factionalism in Japan have mostly limited themselves to factionalism after the establishment of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 1955. This thesis attempts to throw light on factionalism within the conservative Parties in Japan between 1945 and 1964 by comparing factionalism within the two main conservative parties until 1955, the Jiytito and the Minshuto, with that of the LDP. The thesis is an attempt to answer three basic questions. First, what was the character of factionalism within the early conservative parties and how was it different from the LDP factionalism? Second, how and why did the character of factionalism change in this period? Third, what maintains the factionalism within the LDP? I argue that the factionalism of the Jiyuto and Minshuto did not affect the whole party and did not affect electoral politics in any significant way. The factions were fluid entities, with no organisational structure and very loosely defined membership. They were not effective tools to enhance political advancement within the parties. This contrasts with the politically significant LDP factions, which have clear membership and a clearly defined organisational structure which cuts through the whole party. In answer to the second question, I argue that the dominant view that the multimember electoral system is vitally important in the emergence and maintenance of factionalism is flawed, and that factionalism in the LDP evolved out of power politics within the party which were exacerbated by the organisational environment. Although I accept the dominant view that the electoral system has been important in maintaining the LDP factions once they were established, I conclude by arguing that the factions were legitimised and maintained by ascribing to them features seen as 'traditional' but which, I argue, were recent inventions when it comes to factionalism in Japan.