Nov.6 “Conservative Challenges to Feminism on the Japanese Internet” by Tadashisa Hamada

“Conservative Challenges to Feminism on the Japanese Internet: A Historical Analysis”


During the Media Biotope Salon meeting on Nov. 6, 2014 Tadahisa Hamada, a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo shared with us his research that previously had been presented at the annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) held in Daegu, South Korea on 21-25 October.

The presentation was based on a collaborative project with Takanori Tamura, a lecturer at Hosei University and Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki, an Associate Professor a the University of Tsukuba. The authors argue that as the last decade has seen a shift to the right in Japanese society and politics, among the supporting groups for this tendency there are rightist groups and Internet users with rightist or racist ideas who are also largely anti-feminist.

Hamada.san.4slides01 Hamada.san.4slides02 Hamada.san.4slides03

In the early days of the Internet in Japan, networking among minority groups, such as minority activism, feminism, environmentalism, and peace movements, thrived through online communities that were utilized as electronic fora for public debates. However, in recent years we have been facing a paradoxical situation: the Internet is being used by backlash groups to attack feminists and minority groups in Japan. The authors argue that this phenomenon is to some extent due to the marginalization of feminism in Japan both on the Internet and in real politics. Our analysis of how and why feminism became marginalized is based on historical research. Through stressing the role that ICTs have played in this marginalization we show how there are strong connections between the techno and the social in Japan.

(Iwona Merklejn: International Fellow of iii, UTokyo)

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