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Promoting Political Participation through Experience-based Political Education
Unformatted Document Text:  2) Political Attitudes of High School Students Civic Voluntarism Model presents three factors for political participation, namely resources, engagement, and recruitment 15 . Engagement is psychological in nature, relates with political interest, political duty, political knowledge, political efficacy, or party identification, and is thought to be more important when examining the political participation of the youth. The resources and recruitment are closely related with people’s economic and social status, which will be decided at a later stage of life. Based on this model, we will analyze the political attitudes of Japanese high school students, focusing on their political knowledge and engagement 16 a. Interests Table 3 shows the matters of interests listed by the high school students in our survey. From the first to the seventh are private matters, and public matters come only after them. Matters related with any kind of participation are listed among the lowest. Their interests in their “community,” which is the closest place to them, and thus the easiest place to start their participation, remain low. This shows that community activities are outside of their awareness, let alone something of interests for them. b. Political Knowledge As for their knowledge of politics, they tend to get higher scores in questions concerning institutions, while lower scores in current affairs. This is partly due to the fact that they have fresh memories of what they learned in the class (civics is taught at the ninth and tenth grades), as well as to the curriculum of civics that focuses on institutions. Current affairs are not formally taught in the classes, so their knowledge is supposed to be influenced by their own political interests, exposure to the media, or conscious political education in their family. The following are among the questions asked to gauge their optical knowledge. Among the institutional questions, identifying the political representatives whom voters cannot directly elect (Prime Minister), 83 % answered correctly; and identifying the districting system that does not exist in Japan (medium-sized district system), 85 % answered correctly. Among the current affairs questions, identifying the coalition partner of the Liberal Democratic Party got only 42 % correct, while 53 % wrongly selected Japanese Democratic Party, the leading opposition party. 15 Sidney Verba, Kay L. Schlozman, Henry E. Brady, Voice and Equality Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995. 16 The survey was conducted by authors in December 2006. See Appendix B. 9

Authors: Ishibashi, Shoichiro. and Chieko, Otsuru.
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2) Political Attitudes of High School Students
Civic Voluntarism Model presents three factors for political participation, namely
resources, engagement, and recruitment
. Engagement is psychological in nature, relates with
political interest, political duty, political knowledge, political efficacy, or party identification, and is
thought to be more important when examining the political participation of the youth. The
resources and recruitment are closely related with people’s economic and social status, which will
be decided at a later stage of life. Based on this model, we will analyze the political attitudes of
Japanese high school students, focusing on their political knowledge and engagement
a. Interests
Table 3 shows the matters of interests listed by the high school students in our survey.
From the first to the seventh are private matters, and public matters come only after them. Matters
related with any kind of participation are listed among the lowest. Their interests in their
“community,” which is the closest place to them, and thus the easiest place to start their
participation, remain low. This shows that community activities are outside of their awareness, let
alone something of interests for them.
b. Political Knowledge
As for their knowledge of politics, they tend to get higher scores in questions concerning
institutions, while lower scores in current affairs. This is partly due to the fact that they have fresh
memories of what they learned in the class (civics is taught at the ninth and tenth grades), as well as
to the curriculum of civics that focuses on institutions. Current affairs are not formally taught in the
classes, so their knowledge is supposed to be influenced by their own political interests, exposure to
the media, or conscious political education in their family.
The following are among the questions asked to gauge their optical knowledge. Among
the institutional questions, identifying the political representatives whom voters cannot directly
elect (Prime Minister), 83 % answered correctly; and identifying the districting system that does not
exist in Japan (medium-sized district system), 85 % answered correctly. Among the current affairs
questions, identifying the coalition partner of the Liberal Democratic Party got only 42 % correct,
while 53 % wrongly selected Japanese Democratic Party, the leading opposition party.
15
Sidney Verba, Kay L. Schlozman, Henry E. Brady, Voice and Equality Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 1995.
16
The survey was conducted by authors in December 2006. See Appendix B.
9


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