JAPANESE NETWORK CAPITAL: THE IMPACT
OF SOCIAL NETWORKS ON JAPANESE
Ken’ichi Ikeda and Sean E. Richey
Recent scholarship shows that social capital has a large inﬂuence on political behavior.
Social capital’s deﬁnition includes trust, norms of reciprocity, and social networks. Most
studies, however, ignore the networking component. Here, we test the inﬂuence of
social networks on political participation using new Japanese survey data. We separately
test the effects of involvement in formally organized voluntary associations and informal
social networks. We also examine whether hierarchical networks have a different impact
on participation than equal relationships. To determine if networks with bridging or
bonding social capital affect participation differently, we also measure the openness to
outsiders of these networks. Negative binomial regression models indicate a strong
positive relationship between formal and informal social networking—including net-
work hierarchy and some forms of openness—and political participation.
Key words: social capital; social networks; Japanese political behavior.
Do social networks inﬂuence political participation? Recent scholarship
shows that social capital greatly inﬂuences political behavior (e.g., Putnam,
2000). Social capital is deﬁned as trust, norms of reciprocity, and social net-
works (Putnam, 1995). Yet, most social capital studies ignore the networking
component, and focus only on the political impact of trust and reciprocity
Ken’ichi Ikeda, Professor, Department of Social Psychology, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1
Hongo, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan (email@example.com). Sean E. Richey, Visiting
Scholar, Department of Social Psychology, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-Ku,
Tokyo 113-0033, Japan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Political Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 3, September 2005 (
0190-9320/05/0900-0239/0 Ó 2005 Springer ScienceþBusiness Media, Inc.