PBS Premiere: July 29, 2008Check the broadcast schedule »

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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.