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Sharon J. Yoon
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)
Social Media Activism and the Fight Against Hate in Osaka's Koreatown

Research and writing leading to a book on the role of social media in encouraging civic engagement in Japan, focused on the experiences of resident Koreans in the Osaka area. 

Following the student protests of the 1960s, many believed that public demonstrations had become stigmatized and that Japanese youth, who had no first-hand experience of the war, had grown apathetic to politics. My project analyzes how social media has opened up new avenues for civic engagement in Japan. In particular, I examine how a group of “zainichi” Korean activists were able to use social media to mobilize a counter-movement—bringing together a broad coalition of left-wing activists, LGBT minorities, human rights lawyers, and ordinary Japanese citizens—to block hate rallies from entering their community. By challenging prevailing assumptions that social media movements lack organizational cohesion, I stress how space continues to be important in Internet politics by showing how the Korean ghetto became an important site of politicization, turning haphazard supporters into committed activists.

Project fields:
East Asian Studies; Sociology

Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023