Date of Award

Spring 1-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Brian Dowd-Uribe

Second Advisor

Dana Zartner


In recent years, far right-wing political parties have gained power around the world. Far-right movements build a populist, anti-establishment support base through the use of ethno-nationalism and xenophobic policies and slogans. This article applies the models and party frames used to study European far-right movements and applies them to the case of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), a party whose policies under prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe have pushed the party from having a center-right stance to having more of a far-right nationalist and populist one. Using this framework I find that the LDP has utilized its electoral advantage, promises of economic revitalization, and populist slogans such as “Take Back Japan” to simultaneously gather support from both center and far-right conservatives to win the parliamentary majority necessary for Shinzo Abe’s primary goal of revising the postwar pacifist constitution. According to my analysis, the LDP is ultimately an old establishment party in Japan that has taken on strategies similar to that of far-right movements in Europe to advance and transform its aims, and it fits the framework set forth by the literature except for the fact that it is a longstanding establishment party. An important topic for future study would be the continued exploration of establishment parties who succeed in pushing themselves toward the far-right using tactics generally employed by anti-establishment parties.


An honors thesis submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the distinction of Honors in the International Studies Department in the College of Arts and Sciences