On November 14, 2023, the Institute for Global Governance Research (GGR) hosted a GGR Talk Session titled “Influence of Undemocratic Narratives from Authoritarian Countries in Japan,” featuring Dr. Tetsuro Kobayashi (Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University).
Dr. Kobayashi first touched upon the global phenomenon of the retreat of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. He stated that it is becoming increasingly important to find ways to respond to sharp power from authoritarian states. Instead of traditional methods of persuasion, he explained that narratives, which convey messages through stories, have gained attention in recent years. Within the realm of narratives, Dr. Kobayashi focused on non-democratic narratives that pose a danger to democratic values and societies. He shared insights gained from three experiments conducted on the Japanese population. The first experiment identified the effectiveness of narratives across a wide range of people, irrespective of their attributes. The second experiment investigated whether mainstream narratives in democratic countries and non-democratic narratives can offset each other. The results indicated the possibility of offsetting, with the order in which information is presented being crucial. The final experiment compared the effectiveness of straight news and narratives, revealing that non-democratic narratives are significantly more effective than non-democratic straight news.
During the Q&A session, questions were raised regarding the possibility of potential differences in information acquisition affecting the offsetting effect of democratic and non-democratic narratives, the generational factors affecting the effectiveness of narratives, and the potential resistance toward narratives and the emotions that constitute them. Dr. Kobayashi discussed the necessity of advancing research with a focus on which narratives are more effective, taking into account the combination of narratives.
【Event report prepared by】
Juno Kim (Bachelor’s student, Faculty of Law)