Levi McLaughlin F'18

Levi  McLaughlin
Assistant Professor
Philosophy and Religious Studies
North Carolina State University
last updated: 2/4/2019

Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs 2018
Religious Influences on Japanese Politics and Policymaking

This project addresses the impact of religion on Japanese politics. It focuses on members of Soka Gakkai, the religion that underpins the political party Komeito, and politically active Shinto affiliates, including those within Nippon Kaigi, the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership (SASL), and other organizations that maintain ties with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). These religious communities operate as key vote mobilizers for the governing LDP-Komeito coalition, and they shape efforts toward constitutional amendment, militarization, and social policy changes. I intend to share my preliminary findings via a blog and social media platforms in order to provide an on-the-ground account of non-elite adherents who guide Japanese politics. By offering unprecedented insight into participants’ lives, this project will reveal nuanced details of everyday experiences that will allow the public to comprehend not only what is happening vis-à-vis religion and politics in Japan, but why it is happening.