Pia Moberg holds a Ph.D. in Japanese studies and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University, from October 2006 to August 2008. Her dissertation, Political Turning Points: Rhetorical Analysis of Japanese Inauguration Speeches dealt with political rhetoric in Japan from the opening of the Japanese parliament in 1890 to the downfall of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1993.
Her main research interests are on communication and rhetorical processes, political communication and leadership.
Pia is a member of the steering committee of the Nordic Association for the Study of Contemporary Japanese Society (NAJS)
Pia’s new research project, with the working title “A New Japanese Leadership: Rhetorical Strategies at Change”, explores how the new generation of political leaders in Japan meet the challenges of a more individualistic and public-oriented leadership. The study object is the elite training academy Matsushita Institute of Government and Management (Matsushita Seikei Juku).
Although post-war Japan developed into an economic success story, strong and determined Japanese leadership became infamous as basically “non-existent”. In this period, building relationships with other political actors and having vast social networks became prerequisites for making successful political careers, while charismatic and eloquent public speaking was not seen as very instrumental to that effect.
Political training academies have been predicted to play a crucial role in the fostering of a new generation of Japanese political leaders. A number of academies have been founded with the aim to remedy the “leadership deficit” that Japan is still believed to be suffering from. More concretely, they have set out to create a new breed of politicians that often are better prepared for political office, more skilled in handling the media, and have greater international experience than their predecessors. One of the most influential elite training academies is Matsushita Institute of Government and Management (MIGM).
Matsushita Konosuke was the founder of the major electrical goods manufacturer Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. He became a charismatic icon in the Japanese business world during the rapid economic recovery during the postwar period. Lamenting the directions he saw in Japanese politics of his time, he to establish the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management in 1979, that aimed at training political leaders with long-term vision for the nation’s future.
The MIGM will be used as study object to analyse the construction of a new political leadership in Japan. Very few studies have centered around the rhetorical aspect of Japanese political leadership. This is a very important issue since persuasive communication, direct or indirect, is one of the most important tools for a political leader today to get public support and attention in the media. The focus will be put on the communication strategies which are employed at MIGM, using the theoretical framework of comparative rhetorics, taking into account both the Western tradition of rhetorical criticism as well as the Japanese tradition of communication.