Wenn Religionsgemeinschaften zur politischen Reformation ansetzen

Der Fall der japanischen „Kōfuku no kagaku"

  • Axel Klein (Autor/in)


While the relationship between religion and politics has gained more and more attention among social scientists since the early 1980s, the case of Japan has been widely ignored. Given the circumstances (no religious conflicts, constitutional separation of state and religion) this is not surprising, but those religious organizations that participate in various forms in Japanese politics still deserve closer examination as they help us to understand why and how religious groups enter the political world. This article analyzes the "Happiness Realization Party" (Kōfuku jitsugentō), established by the religious "Institute for Research in Human Happiness" (Kōfuku no kagaku) in 2009. From exploring the motivations of the group's political activities, its first steps in the political world as well as the outcome, this paper deducts empirically based hypotheses regarding necessary conditions for the expansion of religious groups into politics. First, the political and social status quo of country or community need to allow for diagnosis of imminence and grievance. Second, the religious teaching requires strong orientation towards this world. And third, the religious leadership needs to support the political initiative. The case of the "Happiness Realization Party" also suggests that political programs deducted from religious teachings tend to contain radical elements and are presented with uncompromising firmness which stems from the religious logic of absolutes. This attitude clashes with the logic of politics and especially in the case of Japan makes it difficult for religious parties to succeed.