Asia Institute - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 373
Sick Returnees among China’s Sent-Down Youth and Contemporary Chinese Practices of Identity Performance
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-01-14)
China’s first cohort of the sent-down youth during the Cultural Revolution has since its early years attracted considerable research interest and been analysed from a few different viewpoints. However, the gradual retreat from executing the sent-down policy, especially bingtui (return to urban centres of origin because of medical reasons) as the then widely used tactic, and its long-term impact on people’s socio-political attitudes and behaviours have not been examined and evaluated adequately. This has resulted in a large discrepancy between the non-academic discourse of returning sent-down youth, including bingtui, and the academic literature on these aspects in both Chinese and English. As revealed by many non-academic publications, bingtui not only represented the emergence of a widespread popular resistance to the Maoist Cultural Revolution that involved mobilising those who were then sent to the countryside, but was also believed to be responsible for a surge in what has since become known as songli feng (a wave of gift-giving practice). Based on the information recorded in published personal memories of many sent-down youth and other published accounts, online and print, as well as the information collected from my own past observations and recent interviews, this article will go beyond both glowing and condemnatory documentations of the sent-down movement of the late 1960s and 1970s and seek to analyse how bingtui was started, how it was utilised by sent-down youth and their families and, importantly, how it had led more Chinese people to realise that certain aspects of their identity could be performed.
The Nation over Gender and Class: Media Framing of Comfort Women in South Korea and Japan
(The British Association for Korean Studies, 2020-10-01)
In December 2015, South Korea and Japan reached an agreement on resolving the “comfort women” issue that sparked media interests. This article analyses how the South Korean and Japanese media covered comfort women in 2013–2018. The study collects over 20,000 newspaper articles and analyses distinctive media framings in liberal, conservative and leftist newspapers in South Korea and Japan. During this period, the South Korean media have gone beyond the extant nationalist and feminist narratives and incorporated a class dimension. The authors find that there have been dynamic interplays among nation, gender and class that make the debates more complex and transnational, yet the dominant narratives are still from liberal or leftist nationalists in Korea and conservative statists in Japan.
The "Savage-Victim-Saviour" Story Grammar of the North Korean Human Rights Industry
(Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2021)
The article examines how the “human rights industry” has used the narratives of North Korean human rights activists and how actors are connected through their networks from a discourse-network perspective. It focusses on the coverage of the three most-cited North Korean refugee activists in the English-language Western media in recent years – Shin Dong Hyuk, Park Yeon Mi and Lee Hyeon Seo – and analyses their memoirs, public speeches and newspaper articles. The study finds that Western publishers have followed Makau Mutua’s “savage–victim–saviour” story grammar in their portrayal of the North Korean activists’ public discourses and that politically conservative, economically libertarian, ideologically anti-communist and religiously Christian groups have influenced these activists. While the political and material environments provided similar structural conditions for all three activists discussed in this study, there were variations among them in terms of access to resources and their exercise of individual agency. The author argues that by employing the voices and performances of North Korean activists, the human rights industry has played a significant role in strengthening and legitimising the hawkish policy of political conservatives in Seoul and Washington against Pyongyang.
The hidden variable: environmental migration from North Korea
(Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2020-06-19)
North Korea’s vulnerability to environmental shocks is an under-appreciated variable in the country’s human insecurity profile. Based on the United Nations Development Programme’s seven pillars of human security and using primary and secondary sources on weather, food and health conditions, the article argues that the intersection of environmental shocks with multiple human insecurities create an exacerbating chain effect on people’s lives in North Korea and prompt adaptive responses from both individuals and the government. We find the regional variations in adaptive capacity as the data shows more people from Hamgyong and Yanggang provinces used outbound migration as an option to survive than other areas, mediated by geography and gender. While Kim Jong Il largely failed to respond to human security threats, Kim Jong Un has adopted a few limited measures to mitigate further damages.
This chapter examines the low-wage employment of young Japanese women who work as au pairs in Australia. The 'North-North' migration of care workers has been growing since young women are willing to work as cheap labour and their employers do not have to pay for travel expenses, visa or health insurance. Au pairs are particularly vulnerable, since they are not fully protected by labour laws. Japanese au pairs in Australia were paid only 4.75 dollars per hour on average. Many of them faced issues such as no contract, no overtime pay, no weekend/holiday pay rate and late payment. Four au pairs were not entirely unpaid throughout their stay. However, these Japanese au pairs remained silent as they had been taught that harmony, obedience, silence were virtues. They were too scared to making complaints against their host families since they might lose their accommodation. The lack of legal and social protection mechanisms for au pairs is a serious problem in Australia and many other industrialised countries. The exploitation of youths through a working holiday visa under the name of 'international exchange' should be more seriously scrutinised.
Japanese NPOs and the State Re-examined: Reflections Eighteen Years On
(Amsterdam University Press, 2020)
This volume focuses on the new and diversifying interactions between civil society and the state in contemporary East Asia by including cases of entanglement and contention in the three fully consolidated democracies in the area: Japan, ...
New Frontiers in Japanese Studies
Over the last 70 years, Japanese Studies scholarship has gone through several dominant paradigms, from ‘demystifying the Japanese’, to analysis of Japanese economic strength, to discussion of global interest in Japanese popular culture. This book assesses this literature, considering future directions for research into the 2020s and beyond. Shifting the geographical emphasis of Japanese Studies away from the West to the Asia-Pacific region, this book identifies topic areas in which research focusing on Japan will play an important role in global debates in the coming years. This includes the evolution of area studies, coping with aging populations, the various patterns of migration and environmental breakdown. With chapters from an international team of contributors, including significant representation from the Asia-Pacific region, this book enacts Yoshio Sugimoto’s notion of ‘cosmopolitan methodology’ to discuss Japan in an interdisciplinary and transnational context and provides overviews of how Japanese Studies is evolving in other Asian countries such as China and Indonesia. New Frontiers in Japanese Studies is a thought-provoking volume and will be of great interest to students and scholars of Japanese and Asian Studies.
‘Community power’: Renewable energy policy and production in post-Fukushima Japan
(Routledge - Taylor & Francis, 2020)
Japan has assumed a central position within global discourses on energy since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that caused radiation leakage from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This disaster singlehandedly destabilised energy policymaking and production practices in Japan. Before this disaster, many people in Japan, including myself, never gave much thought about energy, and only individuals with some reason to be worried about energy issues engaged in discussion about energy. However, people from a broader cross section of society joined the conversation after the disaster. They started learning about how the electricity system works – how electricity is generated and how it is consumed. Before the 11 March disaster, if and when the general public discussed electricity, it was mostly within the context of global climate change; in other words, how to reduce carbon emissions. Unlike coal and natural gas plants, nuclear energy does not involve carbon emissions during the generation of electricity. Such energy generation reflected an ideal pursuit of development and growth, which dominated our lifestyle over the post-Second World War period. However, the post-disaster landscape reshaped our values and ways of living at the grassroots level. People began to engage in more insightful political debates.
Introduction: Envisioning new frontiers in Japanese Studies
(Routledge - Taylor & Francis, 2020)
The introductory chapter clarifies this book’s aims and scope. By ‘new frontiers in Japanese Studies’ we are referring to a shift in geographical emphasis from the United States and the United Kingdom to countries in the Asia-Pacific region through the integration of multiple perspectives on Japanese society from hereto scholarly underrepresented areas. We also envision ‘new frontiers’ as a repositioning of Japanese Studies from ‘outsiders looking in’ to ‘insiders looking out’. Lastly, we perceive a ‘new frontier’ in Japanese Studies as a decisive movement away from the idea that people working in Japanese Studies are primarily presenting case studies while eschewing theoretical contributions to knowledge. Ultimately, this chapter proposes that scholarship should go beyond methodological nationalism – an assumption that the nation-state is the natural and necessary form of society in modernity. To re-conceptualise Japanese Studies, we will open up new horizons by demonstrating how we can make the empirical investigation of border crossings and other transnational phenomena possible. The methodology we employ in this book is in line with Yoshio Sugimoto’s notion of ‘cosmopolitan methodology’ (presented in Rethinking Japanese Studies, Routledge 2018). In so doing, we make Japanese Studies ever more multicultural, multilingual, interdisciplinary and transnational in nature