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Political Participation and Electoral Behavior on a Subnational Level

This project applies two perspectives when addressing citizen/state interaction on a subnational level: This is, firstly, the perspective of engaged citizens pushing for political change at the local level by means of formal politics (e.g., running for office, casting a ballot), and informal politics (e.g., initiating a protest movement, engaging in civic activism). Secondly, from the perspective of local politicians we are interested, among others, in the strategies they apply when wooing for citizens’ support (e.g., populist framings) and how they attempt to institutionalize this support (e.g., strategically supporting citizen referendums). Special focus is also placed at the emerging dynamics of creating and shaping new forms of citizen/state interaction at the points of intersection of both perspectives (bottom-up and top-down).

Principal Researcher: Gabriele Vogt
Ongoing related PhD projects: Anne-Sophie L. König, Stefanie Schwarte


  • Fieldwork stays in Japan that contributed to this project were supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (FY2017 JSPS Invitational Fellowship for Research in Japan), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), among others.
  • International symposium, lecture series and conference panels on this project received funding by Kyūshū University, Kyōto University, Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Hamburg, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and among others.

Selected publications:

Journal papers and book chapters:

  • Vogt, G. (2024): Betting on the Farm: Institutional Change in Japanese Agriculture. By PATRICIA L. MACLACHLAN and KAY SHIMIZU. Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2022, 235 pp. (review). In: The Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 50/1, pp. 185-189. https://doi.org/10.1353/jjs.2024.a918587
  • Vogt, G. (2022): Okinawa’s Unsettled Membership in Japan. In: Current History, 121 (836), pp. 224-230. https://doi.org/10.1525/curh.2022.121.836.224
  • Hijino, K. and G. Vogt (2021): Identity politics in Okinawan elections: The emergence of regional populism. In: Japan Forum, 33, 1, pp. 50-76.
  • Vogt, G. (2020): Der Dorfladen im Zentrum der lokalen Selbstverwaltung: Eine Fallstudie aus Oku/Yanbaru. In: NOAG, 191-195, pp. 105-121.
  • Vogt, G. (2018): Political protest from the periphery: social movements and global citizenship in Okinawa. In: Chiavacci, D. and J. Obinger (eds.): Social Movements and Political Activism in Contemporary Japan: Re-emerging from Invisibility. London: Routledge, pp. 71-92.

Media contributions:

Selected events:

International symposium, lecture series and conference panels:

  • Governance in Japan (Joint organization of an international workshop by Celeste Arrington, George Washington University, and Gabriele Vogt, LMU), 2023/06/13, Munich
  • Politics and Culture in Contemporary Okinawa (Joint Organization of an International Symposium by Gabriele Vogt, LMU and Ina Hein, University of Vienna), 2022/07/07, Online.
  • Diversity in Japan: The Case of Okinawa in Interdisciplinary Perspective. At: Japanese Studies Association of Australia (organizer of a panel including the following speakers: Yoko Fujita, Ina Hein, Ken Hijino, Masayuki Ōnishi, Nana Tōyama and Gabriele Vogt), 2019/07/01-04, Melbourne/Australia.
  • Reforming Democracy and Social Inclusion: Subnational and Supranational Approaches in Japan and Germany (session-organizer at joint symposium of the Universität Hamburg and Kyōto University), 2017/06/07-09, Hamburg.
  • Politischer Protest und Gesellschaftliches Engagement in Japan. (organizer of a public lecture series in cooperation with Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Hamburg), spring term 2017, Hamburg.
  • 市民が創る新しい未来・Civic Engagement Towards a New Future. (co-organizer of an international symposium with Reiko Ogawa, Matthew Augustine, Andrea Germer, Simon A. Avenell, Phoebe S. Holdgrün), 2016/10/10, Fukuoka/Japan.
  • Social movements and identity struggles in Okinawa. At: AAS-in-ASIA (organizer of a panel including the following speakers: Ryan Yokota, Ayako Takamori, Daniel Broudy, Miyume Tanji, and Gabriele Vogt), 2016/06/24-27, Kyoto/Japan.


  • The Yanbaru Model of Community Stores: A Case of “Third Place” Local Governance. At: Governance in Japan, LMU-Workshop, 2023/06/13, Munich. (Vogt)
  • Zur Zukunft der Demokratie III: „Demokratie auf dem Land: Trends politischer Partizipation in den Regionen“ (roundtable discussion with Yosuke Buchmeier, Petra Hahn, Hannes Hasenpatt, Eri Ōtsu, Sebastian Polak-Rottmann, Shunsuke Takeda, Gabriele Vogt). At: Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin and Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien, 2023/05/11, Online.
  • Crisis Narratives, Institutional Change, and the Transformation of the Japanese State (roundtable discussion with David Chiavacci, Sebastian Maslow, Paul O’Shea, Hiroko Takeda, Christian Wirth). At: GIGA Hamburg, 2022/02/17, Online. (Vogt)
  • Populism in Regional Japan: Where is the “Revenge of the Places That Don’t Matter”? (Commentator to two panels with papers by Axel Klein, Andreas Eder-Ramsauer, Kostiantyn Ovsiannikov, Hanno Jentzsch and Ken V. L. Hijino). At: Universität Wien, 2021/12/17-18, Online.
  • Local Self-Governance and Alternative Economy in Okinawa/Japan: A Case Study from Oku. IPSA/AISP 26th World Congress of Political Science (RC05 Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics), 2021/07/10-15, Online. (Vogt)
  • Tackling Declining Candidacy at Local Elections – The Case of Japan. At: IAPSS Virtual World Congress 2021, 2021/05/12, Online. (König)
  • Female political representation in Japan: defying the odds at the local level. At: IAPSS Virtual World Congress 2021, 2021/05/11, Online.
  • Local Governance in Okinawa: A Case Study from Oku. At: u:japan lectures der Universität Wien, 2021/04/15, Online. (Vogt)
  • Challenging US/Japan Burden-Sharing from the Bottom Up: The Anti-Nuclear Citizen’s Movement in Okinawa. At: 3rd Burden-Sharing Workshop, 2019/10/14, Kyoto/Japan. (Vogt)
  • Identity Politics in Okinawan Elections: The Emergence of Regional Populism. At: Japanese Studies Association of Australia 2019 Meeting at Monash University, 2018/07/02, Melbourne/Australia. (Vogt)
  • Das Ringen um Demokratie auf lokaler Ebene: Beispiele aus Okinawa. At: Das Erbe der Meiji-Restauration. Wege zur liberalen Demokratie 1868-2018, 2018/12/14, Halle an der Saale. (Vogt)
  • 日本とドイツ、二つの自由 (Movie screening 『ハトは泣いている』and panel discussion with Sachie Oka and Akiko Okazaki). At: 映画カフェ, Kyūshū University, 2017/11/28, Fukuoka/Japan. (Vogt)
  • Political Protest from the Periphery: Social Movements and Global Citizenship in Okinawa. At: Future Perspectives for Island Society: Sustainability and Self-Management (International RETI 2017 Symposium), 2017/11/17-19, Okinawa/Japan. (Vogt)
  • 報告「市民(権)の基盤:アイデンティティと参加」・The Foundations of Citizenship: Identity and Participation. At: 市民が創る新しい未来・Civic Engagement Towards a New Future, International Symposium, 2016/10/10, Fukuoka/Japan. (Vogt)