Graduate School of Political Science
Dean: Takaharu Kohara
What is “politics?” What is “democracy”? Such questions are of critical importance to us, students of political science. Nowadays, we are entering an era in which these questions are directed toward us with greater frequency as Japanese politics, both at the national and local levels, is dominated by the politicians who brashly claim “Politics is numbers”, “Numbers equals power,” and “Power is justice.”
Of course, the establishment of the power of numbers in politics represents a major step forward in the long history of humanity. A conservative thinker in the 19th century made the following sarcastic remarks: “Parliamentary government is simply a mild and disguised form of compulsion. We agree to try strength by counting heads instead of breaking heads, but the principle is exactly the same.”(Stephen, J.F.(1873) Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Smith, Elder, &Co., pp27-28) I’d like to point out two things here. One is that the politics of counting heads is far better than that of breaking heads and the establishment of the former principle should be hailed as progress. The other is that that said, we cannot or should not see parliamentary politics merely as an act of counting heads.
Generally speaking, politics is supposed to perform two functions: to decide and to discuss. In the event of a major natural disaster, for example, the head of a government cannot unduly postpone making decisions about whether or not to order residents to evacuate or when to order them. On the other hand, day-to-day operations of the government are not always about such extreme situations. In my opinion, whether the government is able to make a reasonable decision in a timely manner when an emergency arises hinges on how much efforts are being made at ordinary times to hold discussions with concerned parties.
“Indecisive politics” is the phrase we often come across these days and it implies that politics is all about decision-making. I’m alarmed by the increasing use of this stereotypical expression with negative connotations. What we, students of political science, need to do is to revisit the type of politics that focuses on discussion rather than quick and often unilateral decision-making.
When you write your master’s or doctor’s thesis, it is unlikely for you to choose such a fundamental question as “What is politics?” or “What is democracy?” as the theme of your paper. You will most likely discuss more specific issues. But I strongly suggest that you always bear in mind the most fundamental questions of political science whatever topics you may choose to write about and keep asking yourself how your research is related to these questions.
Since its establishment in 1951, the Graduate School of Political Science has fostered and sent into society well over 1,000 invaluable talents. Many of our graduates work in the fields of research and education. There are also many who work in government, journalism and politics. Currently, our School is comprised of three courses: political science, journalism and public management. The political science course is further divided into 5 sub-divisions: contemporary politics, political thoughts and history, comparative politics, international relations and public administration.
For further information, please refer to the School’s website and pamphlets.
Finally, I’d like to emphasize that our School’s greatest advantage lies in the abundance of well-qualified teaching staff. Human elements count most in the field of research and education. Please refer to the School’s website and faculty database to check the research interests and scholastic achievements of each faculty member and find those who fit your own interests most.
I, along with the rest of the faculty, look forward to working together with anyone who has a sincere desire to pursue the truths through academic research.