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Understanding Local Political Campaigns

Campaign provides a startling insider's view of Japanese electoral politics in this portrait of a man plucked from obscurity by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to run for a critical seat on a suburban city council.

What similarities and differences are there between Japanese political campaigns and American political campaigns? How can you better understand your local political campaign after watching the film?

  • Convene or work with an existing civic engagement group dedicated to recruiting people to run for local office. Study how the process works in different countries and adapat strategies from other nations where appropriate.

  • During the next political campaign, correspond with a Japanese pen-pal or blogger. Share your take on the campaign(s) that you are following and ask them about the campaigns they care about. Compare your experiences and perceptions.

  • Convene a panel of scholars and citizens with knowledge of Japanese culture and American culture to compare how the differences and similarities play out in the political systems of each country. Host a single event or series of discussions focused on what the two countries can learn from each other about how to strengthen democracy.

  • Using video or a blog, document the experience of a candidate running for office in your community.

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

POV offers discussion and facilitators guides for all of our films. Film club members, teachers and event planners may use these guides when viewing the film with a group. Both guides contain background information, sample discussion questions and a list of related resources. The facilitators guide includes event ideas, potential partners, key issues and tips for organizing an event. Please download the guide that fits your needs and use it to gain tips on how to develop productive conversations using Campaign.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is designed to be used with the film Campaign, a peek into political campaigning in Japan as experienced by a man running for a critical seat on a suburban city council. Classrooms can use this lesson to examine Japanese campaign strategies that are restricted and permitted by law, and then discuss how these activities could affect the strength of the country's democracy. Note: This film is in Japanese with English subtitles.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multimedia resource list, compiled by Susan Conlon and Martha Perry of the Princeton Public Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by the upcoming POV documentary Campaign and recommended books and magazine articles about politics in Japan.

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When I was shooting Campaign I wanted to be as invisible as possible. I wanted to be a fly on the wall.”

— Kazuhiro Soda, Filmmaker

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