Journal of Undergraduate Research


East Asian religions, feminism, post-materialist, modern Japan


Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Political Science


Japan is known worldwide for its rich and complex history and culture as well as its rankings as a global frontrunner in the fields of economics, globalization, education, technology, entrepreneurship, quality of life, and cultural influence.1 Fascinating to many political theorists is how socioeconomic prosperity within thriving countries changes their societal principles and policies. Renowned political scientist Dr. Ronald Inglehart crafted the economic theory of postmaterialism, which states that because of their increased physical and financial security, Western states adapted to social values that emphasized autonomy and individualism.2 In my Orca proposal I outlined my plan to study how this theory translates to modern Japan. There are notable differences in how post-materialism is interpreted in Japan when compared to Western ideals; for instance, Japanese feminist movements focus less on the individual and more so on collective wellbeing.3 Taking into account my own Western perspective, I wanted to travel to Japan to study firsthand how the deeply embedded ancient religions of Japan have impacted feminism and post-materialist standards in Japanese culture today.