Despite the significant advancement of Japanese philanthropy in recent years, Japan still lacks research exploring a comprehensive understanding of what philanthropy means. The main objective of this article is to fill this gap by examining how philanthropy has been defined in Western history and offering Japanese scholars an analytical framework for the variety of existing approaches to conceptualizing philanthropy. To this end, I conduct a systematic review of philanthropic studies published primarily in the United States, where the concept of philanthropy has long been a subject of academic research. In addition to recent salient studies on meaning of philanthropy (Daly 2012, Sulek 2010a, 2010b), I identify and review more studies utilizing bibliographic databases (i.e., ABI/INFORM, EBSCO, JSTOR) and other sources, such as the Payton Philanthropic Studies Library at Indiana University and key philanthropic scholars. Following this systematic review, I report various definitions of philanthropy put forth by Western authors and discuss the complex nature of philanthropy in distinct sociopolitical and cultural contexts. The resulting typology synthesizes the two approaches―the historical and the theoretical―to the conceptualization of philanthropy. The article concludes with a discussion of how Japanese scholars can utilize this typology to advance research in Japanese philanthropy.
This article identifies how NPOs influenced policy-making process after the enactment of the Basic Act for Suicide Prevention and what the source of their influence is. This was clarified by the analysis of an interview with Mr. Shimizu (a director of the NPO Life Link) and an argument in two consultative bodies; Life Link acquired valuable information about the actual conditions of suicide through its connection with bereaved families and made and strengthened its connections with Diet members. Because of these relationships, their advocacy had a large influence on the policy-making process. However, some studies have indicated that there could be a harmful influence or the risk of the destruction of democracy, if NPOs had too great of an influence on the policy-making process. In this article, I show that NPO bypassed argument in the two consultative bodies and had a great influence directly on the policy-making process. In evaluating NPOs’ influence in the policy-making process, particularly that of Life Link, it is necessary to examine involvement in later processes in detail.
This paper examines the relationship between public funding and advocacy by civil society organizations. Previous studies have discussed the consequences of dependence on public funding and its impact on advocacy. Using resource-dependence theory, some studies argue that public funding has a negative impact on advocacy. However, others find a positive impact, drawing on partnership theory. There is no strong empirical finding that supports either theory. Therefore, the debate has not yet been settled. This study provides two new perspectives on the argument. First, the level of the independence of the government from civil society determines the consequence, because it determines the reaction of governments to advocacy. If independence is high, governments can take sanctions against advocacy, so the resource-dependence theory is valid. If the level is low, governments cannot take sanctions and are willing to compromise with civil society organizations; therefore the partnership theory is valid. Second, public funding has a nonlinear impact on advocacy. Previous research focused only on its linear impact and whether this was a positive or negative impact. However, this research shows that the effect of public funding is nonlinear and fits an inverted U-shaped model. Findings from the multivariate analyses of the Japanese Third Sector Survey 2014 support these two perspectives.
This study analyzes the institutional and regional factors affecting the extent of nonprofit organization (NPO) activities in Japan. We select three indicators reflecting the level of NPO activities that can achieve community revitalization: funding, human resources, and links with others. Previous studies on the determinants of the extent of NPO activities examined institutional factors without considering regional factors. This research considered both of these internal and external factors to analyze the determinants using county-level data consisting of a sample of 1,079 NPO groups collected by the Cabinet Office (Japan). Our results indicate that the number of years that the NPO received funding, and the number of methods of information dissemination they use have a positive effect on the level of NPO activities. In addition, a wider field of activities has a positive effect on links with others. NPOs recommended by the government have a larger scale than those established for other reasons. The economic infrastructure and the degree of political participation also affect the level of NPO activities.
Recently, Japanese firms have begun to consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) as more important than previously. However, some firms are still implementing CSR without any clear strategic intent, and decreasing their contributions in recessions. Therefore, to indicate the beneficial impact of CSR on Corporate Performance, this paper analyzes the empirical linkages between CSR and financial performance (ROA (Return on asset) and ROE (Return on equity)) using panel data analysis. For empirical analysis, a four-year set of CSR data from more than 1,000 Japanese firms has been adopted. This paper hypothesizes that a strategic approach to CSR is positively associated with financial performance. As a result, out of four CSR categories, the categories of the utilization of human resources and social contribution are found to be positively associated with financial performance. On the other hand, corporate governance and the environmental contribution categories of CSR are found not to be associated with financial performance.
Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are expected to lead the local economy and contribute to local society by implementing changes. The Hokkaido Green Fund (HGF) was established in 1999. Since 2001, 18 citizen-financed windmills have been built, which are operating in Hokkaido, Aomori, Akita, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Ishikawa prefectures. The HGF’s policy and business model, as expressed in its “Community Wind Farm Projects” in regional areas, has caused changes in the social structure, making it possible to form “collaborative networks and platforms” between public and private sectors and integrate the divergent renewable energy policies of the national and local governments. Its major challenge is to simultaneously secure profits and maintain autonomy. People have a chance to establish a sustainable living standard by purchasing HGF’s product, i.e., wind-power generated energy. The HGF’s practical case provides local governments with useful knowledge in reforming their own local economic system. It is a sustainable local management model developed by an NPO working with other sectors that incorporates a new local economy into the existing political and economic system.
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