'factions'에 해당되는 글 1건

  1. 2014.09.24 [일본-노트] 자민당 파벌 연구 (5개 주요 파벌) - LDP's Big Five Factions

[일본-노트] 자민당 파벌 연구 (5개 주요 파벌) - LDP's Big Five Factions

[연구] Research 2014. 9. 24. 21:02

The LDP’s Factions

조비연 (2014.9.24)

1.    Overview

1)    What are factions?

Factionalism has been part of LDP’s makeup since its founding in 1955:

o Faction as a “primary unit,” the “central force,” and the “real actors in intraparty politics” within the party in postwar Japanese politics

 o LDP is described as a “federation of factions” (rather than a unified national party)[1] – “government by, for, and of the faction.”[2]

2)    The rise and fall of faction in LDP

o  Started from “Hachiko Shidan(Eight corps)” in 1956

 -  3 major functions[3]

(1) Electoral support, including earning party nominations for its members and the mobilization of support

(2) Cooperative political funds mobilization

(3) A means for collective negotiations over portfolio distribution in times a cabinet shuffle

-  “It used to be the case that a faction leader would provide most of the money that the members of his faction needed for that political life, and in return the faction member gave the leader his loyalty[4]

o Around mid-1970s, “Big Five” factions were constructed

-  Because of multimember district electoral system, allowing for election of 5 candidates from one district, thus “LDP factions was reduced to five to correspond with the maximum number of candidates that the party could field in any multimember district.”[5]

In 1994, political reform diminished the power of factions

-  “Factions were characterized as a source of political evil that were a by-product of the existing multimember district electoral system. The government introduced a new electoral system that combined single-member districts with proportional representation in an effort to eliminate factions within the parties and strengthen party leadership.[6]

o  Koizumi tried to collapse the factionalism strongly-rooted in LDP

-  “Factions within the LDP never disappeared. In contrast to the view that factions will eventually fade away, I have argued that they are likely to survive, albeit with different structures and functions to perform[7]


2. LDP’s Five Major Factions (Lineages)

1)  Major Factions and Their Lineages

Most importantly, there are 5 major factional “lineages” that extend from 1956 to the current factions in LDP in 2014: The five factions in 1956 are headed by Hayato Ikeda(1956); Eisaku Sato(1956); Ichiro Kono(1956); Nobusuke Kishi(1956); Takeo Miki(1956). Figure 1 below is my update on Koellner’s figure in his study on LDP factions.

Figure 1. Lineage of LDP Factions 1956-Present (in terms of faction leaders)

Source: Updated on Koellner’s Figure 1. The Development of LDP factions[8]

As shown, these 1956 factions – headed by Ikeda, Sato, Kono, Kishi, and Miki – have remained in LDP as major lineages while the power is handed down from one leader to another: The Ikeda faction transcends to the current Kishida faction and Aso faction, Sato faction to current Nukaga faction, Kishi faction to Machimura faction (currently the largest faction), Kono faction to Ibuki and Ishihara faction, and Miki faction to Oshima. One thing to note here is the Yoshida Shigeru and Hatoyama Ichiro roots to these major faction lineages. As shown in the left part of the Figure 1, Yoshida who claimed for the peace treaty transcended to Ikeda and Sato faction. Hatoyama on the other hand who at the beginning argued for rearmament, the US-Japan security treaty, transcended to Kishi and Kono factions. And the current largest Machimura faction (2014), originates from this Kishi faction, the Hatoyama line, to which Shinzo Abe also belonged to.


2) Lineages and Sizes of Major Factions in 2014 (as of May 2014)

To clarify, the table below is an update of 2014 LDP factions table appeared on the Japan Times. I have added the left column to trace the lineages of these current factions: Out of the 7 factions, 6 factions have their roots to the major 5 factions in 1956. Another small note is that the names of these factions go by the names of current leaders, instead of the official faction names (2nd column), which is why it is often difficult to follow all the names that change as the leadership transforms.

Table 1. LDP Factions and its Lineages (as of May 2014)

LDP Factions and its Lineages (as of May 2014)

Five Faction Lineage

Name of faction


Number of members (number of rookies)


Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai

Nobutaka Machimura



Heisei Kenkyukai

Fukushiro Nukaga




Fumio Kishida


Ikeda (Kono)


Taro Aso




Toshihiro Nikai


Kono (Yamasaki)

Kinmirai Seiji Kenkyukai

Nobuteru Ishihara



Bancho Seisaku Kenkyujo

Tadamori Oshima


Source: Based on LDP factions table in The Japan Times[9] (Left Column Added)

Largest Faction (2014): The Modern Kishi Faction (Machimura faction)

-         (Kishi-Fukuda-Abe-Mitsuzuka-Mori-Machimura) Shinzo Abe belonged to this faction

-         2004: Overtaken the modern Sato faction in the Lower House, which has been the largest faction in LDP for most of the postwar years.

As Table 1 illustrates, the current largest faction is headed by the Modern Kishi faction – the Machimura faction (first line), with the size of 82 members. As already mentioned Shinzo Abe belonged to this faction, and this Modern Kishi faction- currently called the Machimura faction has replaced the modern Sato faction (currently the Nukaga faction) starting in the mid 2000s (with fluctuations), which had been the largest faction in LDP for most of the postwar years.


3)    Size Variations Over Time

Table 2. Number of Major Five Faction Members over Time

Source: Based on Park (2001)[10]

The specific size variations of these lineages can be better explained by looking at the modified chart from Prof Park’s paper in 2001, Table 2. The top column and arrows had been added to note that these factions in the table represent the five major faction lineages (1956). 

Most importantly, the size of each faction matters because it means power within the party, over the party president, and in times of LDP majority in Diet, it also secures power, leverage over the PM and the Diet. As Prof Park’s paper noted, “one faction is able to lead the nation if it can recruit about 1/4 of the lDP’s membership” – around 100 individuals.

With that in mind, some interesting implications can be found in Table 2 – I have marked the areas of focus as the three boxes on the table:

-         Box A: As the box outlines, the modern sato faction, Tanaka faction in this table and now the Nukaga faction, can be stated to have had the maneuver of the country during 1980s~1990 where its member size exceeded over 100 (A decisive role in the selection of party leader for more than 20 years).[11] In specific, the modern Sato faction has been the largest faction in LDP during 1972-1990, playing the “shadow shogun” according to Schlesinger.[12] Also note the size of the largest number, 140 (54) in year 1986, which coincides with the 1986 landslide victory for LDP that year.

-         Box B: In specific to Box B, what we can notice is the overall fall in the size of the factions. Between the modern Sato and Kishi factions, along with modern Ikeda faction, the numbers are in close competition. Also, the majority faction’s size falls below 100, during 1993~2000. We can think of LDP’s historic loss in 1993 election for a short period; the introduction of Political Funds Control Law in 1994, and change to SNTV from multimember district system in 1993 – the electoral changes.

-         Box C: Interesting part here is Box C, where we see the return of the modern Sato faction as the largest faction in LDP in early 2000s. Also note on the re-increase in the size over 100, and the gap also increased among the first and the rest factions.

Overall, such variations in size signal the presence of significant changes in LDP, where the overall size of factions have decreased and the long-time majority faction (the modern Sato faction-currently the Nukaga faction) has been replaced by the current Machimura faction as the new majority – the Modern Kishi faction.


3. Weakened Factionalism?

The next question is then, has factionalism weakened?

As noted above, 1993 LDP failure, Political Funds Control Law and SNTV after 1993, Koizumi’s 2004 agenda to uproot factionalism may be the grounds to argue that factionalism has waned. Definitely it seems that the factions are playing by a different logic, because most importantly 1) LDP has lost its Diet majority, along with 2) the electoral changes after the single-member SNTV system. In short, it has become less about the inter-faction competition, but more about the challenges from the opposition parties.

Nonetheless, the factions have more and large survived: According to Prof Park’s paper, factionalism remains because the factions are “creatively adjusting to the changed political institutions”; and factions still 1) satisfy the career incentives of individual politicians; 2) provide effective management of the party as an organization.[13]


4. Abe and Factionalism

And finally, what can factions explain about Abe and Japan in 2014?

o  First, the 2014 Reshuffle is reported to have shown how factionalism still matters to Abe and LDP. The article states that Abe’s reshuffle has been “a strategic maneuver to secure his position prior to party elections slated for the fall of 2015.” With the reschuffle he had two goals: first to deal with Ishiba Shigeru –who is 2nd in rank within the party, and second to rebuild connections among the interparty factions. 

o  Another important note is how Abe’s Active pacifism, normal country agenda can be linked to the current largest faction’s lineage. As Figure 1 illustrated, the current largest faction, Machimura faction, which Abe also belonged to, is the long branch off from Hatoyama Ichiro (Hatoyama – US-Japan Security Treaty – “conservative anti-mainstream” hoshu bōryū vs. Yoshida line - Peace Treaty – “conservative mainstream” hoshu honryū).[14] The majority by Machimura faction explains the overall right click of the LDP, especially after the split of Takeshita faction(the modern Sato faction) into Obuchi faction and Hata (Ozawa), which defected from the LDP and form DPJ, causing the LDP’s fall in 1993. As the modern Sato faction has always maintained its majority and its midway political stance between the left and right political-ideological spectrum within the LDP, the split of the faction in 1993 meant that the midway position that the postwar LDP maintained has also waned. Now that the modern Kishi faction (Kishi-Fukuda-Abe-Mitsuzuka-Mori-Machimura) plays the majority, which is on the righter side of the spectrum, current Japan’s direction can be explained.



Baerwald, Hans H. (1986) Party Politics in Japan, Worchester, Mass.: Allen and Unwin.

Curtis, Gerald L. (2002), Policymaking in Japan : defining the role of politicians (Brookings Institution Press).

Iyasu Tadashi (1984) Jiminto: kono fushigi na seito [LDP: This counterintuitive party]. Tokyo: Kodansha.

Johnson, Chalmers (1990) "The People Who Invented the Mechanical Nightingale." Daedalus 12:71–90.

Meiji, Kakizaki, “Abe Shores up Power with Cabinet Reshuffle,” Nippon.com (Sept 18, 2014), Available at http://www.nippon.com/en/currents/d00138/ (Accessed Sept. 23, 2014).

Newsweek, “Hatoyama’s Philosophy of Yuai,” (Nov. 5, 2009) Available at http://www.newsweek.com/hatoyamas-philosophy-yuai-76847 (Accessed Sept 24, 2014).

Park, Cheol Hee (2001) “Factional Dynamics in Japan’s LDP since Political Reform,” Asian Survey, Vol. 41, No. 3, (May/June), pp. 428-461.

Patrick Köllner (2004) “Factionalism in Japanese political parties revisited or How do factions in the LDP and the DPJ differ?”, Japan Forum, 16:1.

Scalapino, Robert A., and Masumi Junnosuke (1962) Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Schlesinger, Jacob (1997) Shadow Shoguns, Simon & Schuster.

Shinoda, Tomohito (2013) Contemporary Japanese Politics: Institutional Changes and Power Shifts, Columbia University Press.

The Japan Times, “As LDP rides high, are factions biding time?” (May 18, 2013), Available at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/18/national/politics-diplomacy/as-ldp-rides-high-are-factions-biding-time/#.VB-WZVfzTPo (accessed Sept 22, 2014)

Ward, Robert E. (1967) Japan's Political System. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Watanabe Tsuneo, Habatsu[Factions] (Tokyo: Kobundo, 1959), p.3.

Zakowski, Karol (2014) “Factional Dynamics in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party,” Available at http://leamplus.edu/factional-dynamics-in-japans-liberal-democratic-party/.


[1] See works like Scalapino and Masumi (1962); Baerwald (1986, 46-47); Ward (1967, 65 and 68-69)

[2] Matsuyama Yukio, former editor of the Asahi Shinbun , told an audience at Harvard University in 1991

[3] Watanabe Tsuneo, Habatsu[Factions] (Tokyo: Kobundo, 1959), p.3.

[4] Curtis, Gerald L. (2002), p. 45 Policymaking in Japan : defining the role of politicians (Brookings Institution Press.)

[5] Park, Cheol Hee (2001) “Factional Dynamics in Japan’s LDP since Political Reform,” Asian Survey, Vol. 41, No. 3, (May/June), p. 431.

[6] Park (2001), p. 432

[7] Park (2001), p. 461.

[8] Patrick Köllner (2004) Factionalism in Japanese political parties revisited or How do factions in the LDP and the DPJ differ?, Japan Forum, 16:1, p. 91. Also refer to Park (2001), p. 434.

[9] The Japan Times, “As LDP rides high, are factions biding time?” (May 18, 2013), Available at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/201 3/05/18/national/politics-diplomacy/as-ldp-rides-high-are-factions-biding-time/#.VB-WZVfzTPo (accessed Sept 22, 2014)

[10] Park (2001), p. 456.

[11] Shinoda, Tomohito (2013) Contemporary Japanese Politics: Institutional Changes and Power Shifts, Columbia University Press, p.78.; Park (2001), p. 447: “from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, … the numerical strength of the [Tanaka] faction allowed it to take a commanding position over the other factions.”

[12] Jacob Schlesinger, this faction as the so called “shadow shogun” of the party: Schlesinger, Jacob (1997) Shadow Shoguns, Simon & Schuster.

[13] Park (2001), p. 429.

[14] One related article: Newsweek, “Hatoyama’s Philosophy of Yuai,” (Nov. 5, 2009) Available at http://www.newsweek.com/hatoyamas-philosophy-yuai-76847 (Accessed Sept 24, 2014).

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