Organization for University Research InitiativesWaseda University


Research Institute of Contemporary Japanese Systems



Concluded Laboratory 2014/03/31

Director : Masaru KOHNO
Professor,Faculty of Political Science and Economics

Research theme

Interdisciplinary research on Japanese social systems in the 21st century

Overview of research

This research aims to advance the fields of research relating to Japan in the 21st century by studying the ways in which values and principles unique to Japan, as well as systems and policies with a marked Japanese character, are maintained or changed in the face of various challenges from within and outside Japan, such as globalization, low growth rates, and declining birth rates.

Specifically, the research will focus on 3 important and contrasting areas—economic systems, social security, and external relations. Through an interdisciplinary integration of the historical analysis of the development of Japanese principles, systems, and policies, with a current analysis of the kinds of pressures experienced in each area today, we aim to paint a picture of the medium to long-term prospects of the Japanese social system. At the same time, through the new developments in research relating to Japan uncovered through this project, we also seek ways to contribute to theorists in the fields of human and social sciences. By basing our research at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, the only interdisciplinary research institute at Waseda University, it is also our goal to establish the Institute as a platform for research relating to modern Japanese society in Waseda University, as well as a hub for global dissemination of information and international exchange.

Concrete results

The research involves a review of the formation and development to date of Japanese or Japan-style systems in relation to each of the 3 areas described above. In the area of economic systems, with regard to changes and the direction of developments taking place after the 1990s, while debates on the possibilities of convergence with American-style systems or the maintenance of existing characteristics have taken a global turn, we propose to look at the issues using the keywords gdiversityh and ghybridization.h Through this analysis, it would also be possible to contribute to theories relating to the roles of financial markets, ownership structures, and systems for economic growth, as well as theories on the mechanisms for endogenous changes in systems, within a Japanese context. With respect to the area of external relations (security), we aim to shed light on how the institutionalized pacifist principles in postwar Japan that form the core of the Japanese constitution can adapt to a changing Asia, and to the strategic global environment. At the same time, the findings obtained through the above analyses may potentially make new contributions to the theoretical development of 3 paradigms within studies of international relations—realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Within the area of social security and the welfare state, under the pressures of rapid decline in birth rates and globalization, we aim to gain clarity on changes in the unique employment relationships and social security systems within Japanese society, and also anticipate that these analyses may also prove useful in theoretically-related areas such as national identity, social stratification theory, and varieties of capitalism. Furthermore, by addressing issues located at the intersections between the 3 areas reviewed independently thus far (such as selection of social security systems and economic systems, the relationship between the expansion of corporations into foreign markets and security policies, etc.), it would be possible to conduct an integrated analysis of the prospects for the Japanese social system in the (first half of the) 21st century.


Masaru KOHNO (Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics)
Takahiko TANAKA (Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics)
Hideaki MIYAJIMA (Professor, Faculty of Commerce)
Shinichi HIROTA (Professor, Faculty of Commerce)
Yasuhiro ARIKAWA (Associate professor, Faculty of Commerce)
Toru SHINODA (Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences)
Ikuo KUME (Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics)
Katsuyuki KUBO (Associate professor, Faculty of Commerce)
Kiichiro ARAI (Assistant professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics)

Adjunct Researcher

Hiro KATSUMATA ( Assistant Professor,Waseda University Institute of Asia-Pasific Studies)
Kohei KAWAMURA ( Assistant Professor,Department of Economics,University of Edinburgh)
Masao NAKAMURA (Professor, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia)
Hidetaka AOKI (Associate Professor,faculty of commerce and economics,Chiba University of Commerce Faculty)
Gregory Jackson (Professor,Freie University Berlin)
Takashi SAITO (Associate Professor,Kyushu International University)
Yasuhiro IZUMIKAWA (Associate Professor,Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University)
Takeshi IIDA (Specially Associate Assistant Professor,Graduate School of Law & Faculty of Law,Kobe University )
Takeshi HIEDA (Associate Professor,Graduate School of Law & Faculty of Law,Osaka City University )


Waseda Institute for Advanced Study 1-6-1 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050, JAPAN


Research Institute of Contemporary Japanese Systems
Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)

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