May 21: Tadahisa Hamada’s presentation on surveillance and sense of ‘privacy’ in the Internet




On May 21, Mr. Tadahisa Hamada did his presentation at the panel: Internet, Activism, and Human Rights in Asia in the Fifth Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2015.

The title of the paper was “Surveillance and sense of ‘privacy’ in the Internet embedded Japanese NGOs: through cross cultural survey.” The following is his proposal.

This paper examines awareness of issues in the information society and behaviors of people in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Japan compared with other countries. NGOs are crucially important for building civil society, and their activities are increasingly dependent on information and communication technologies (ICTs). In these two decades, legislation for information control and surveillance – such as the wiretapping law (1999), the resident registry network law (1999), the common number law (2013) and the state secrets protection law (2013) – have advanced but counter-movements were lackluster. For these reasons, it is important to raise awareness of issues in information society – such as digital divide, intellectual property rights, privacy – as well as to improve computer literacy among people in NGOs.

We interviewed people in NGOs in Japan and other countries. We found the low level of awareness on privacy issues of Japanese NGOs. Most respondents consider that privacy is important, but they rarely read privacy policies. They said they vaguely feel it is risky to disclose their private lives in SNS, but it is impossible to avoid surveillance. Some of them said information issues are not in their specialities. If they do not think that privacy is essential for our lives, democracy will not stay in Japan. To examine this topic deeply, we need to conduct online survey. We examine the characteristics of the respondents (age, gender, experience of the Internet, activity area and role in the organization).

We analyze the result in contrast with legal systems and cultures among countries. We suppose the concept of “watakushi private sphere” Tamura (2004) proposed may be suggestive to explain the result. The findings will be situated within the broader social and cultural context of Japan.

(Tentative report by Shin Mizukoshi, Professor of III, UTokyo)



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Jan.15: Counter-Hegemonic Discourse on New Poor in Japan in 2000s –A Case Study of Indie-Magazines

This time in Biotope Salon, Minjoo Lee shared her ongoing research on counter-hegemonic discourse on new poor in Japan since 1990s.
Here she introduced two small-scale, independent magazines on young new poor in Japan: the one is “Freeter’s free,” and the other is “Lost gene.” Both have been published during late 2000s and edited by young activists, young intellectuals and young workers, all who have engaged with social movement on young poor in Japan.


Mine (Center, with Red Sweater and Mac) and members of Biotope Salon

In these two indie magazines, as Minjoo argued, the young new poor attempted to problematize public discourses on them and to produce counter-hegemonic discourse by unfolding and re-appropriating their own experience. Moreover, these magazines provided counter-(alternative) publics where the young new poor could reach to self-acceptance escaping from self-denial and collectively search for alternative ways of life without being captured by neo-liberal capitalism. In this process, the young new poor – not only readers but also contributors and editors – re-identify their subjectivities as laborers, political subjects, and young generation who are situated in the very middle of the social contradictions produced by late capitalism.

For further research, she also aims to explore their alternative ways of publishing as a media movement that created and managed their publishing groups as a collective social enterprise. This will be delved into mainly by interviewing editors, contributors and other related people in independent publishing companies in order to reexamine their struggles to cross boundaries between discursive and real practices. Biotope Salon members suggested insightful and practical advice and information for her further research, especially on interviewing and independent publishing in Japan. Based on those invaluable discussions at the meeting, we hope her to develop her research as more vivid and elaborate one.

(Minjoo Lee, PhD student of the GSII, UTokyo)









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Feb. 5: An Explorative Research on the Suspicious Study Trip to the “Eastern Bloc” (1989-1992)

For Biotope Salon on February 5, 2015, Jiyoon Kim shared the background, outline, and very preliminary findings of one of the case studies from her on-going PhD project, the study trip to the “Eastern Bloc” by South Korean university students from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. “Eastern Bloc” hereby indicates transforming socialist societies such as the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries, and China.

This organized group tour has once gained a great popularity among South Korean university students. It was a product of the era in transition. By tracing their trajectory, we can see how the international relations of post-cold war period and domestic political issues are intertwined in the individuals’ performance and their itineraries.

Although the program was planned to provide students the experience of the “real face” of socialist societies by using the binary cold-war ideological frame, ironically, the phenomenon and the individual encounters to their visiting societies reveal the transforming South Korean society at the moment, arguably a “dual face” of post-cold war globalism. One of the evidences can be the way that significant others appeared and are described.



(Jiyoon Kim, PhD student of the GSII, UTokyo)


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Dec. 4, In-between: Cultivating collective community knowing through collaborative arts-based research, storytelling and performance

Laurel Hart provided a brief introduction to the concepts of arts-based research, participatory and relational art, and participatory action research. A brief overview of the Hart’s creative productions served as the basis for a discussion and further exploration of the potential (and problems) of knowledge making within interdisciplinary settings, and across/between the boundaries of institutions and environments, including the contemporary art world, the community, and the university.


The works presented include: Night Lights (, a web-based and location specific collaborative “DIY” work, where LED lit posters sharing life lessons were posted throughout the Montreal neighbourhood of Mile End; Identity in Hand (, which explores anonymity, identity, story and community on public transit, and two performative works, the Living City ( and Wade in the Water (

The artist/presenter has several new international artistic exchange projects presently underway (still in the early stages), and is looking for collaborators from Tokyo and Japan who are interested in co-organizing or participating.

If you are interested to learn more, please contact her at; her website is

(Laurel Hart: International Fellow of iii, UTokyo)

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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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Oct. 10, Community Media in Seoul and Tokyo

Guest Speakers:

Yong-Chan Kim, Professor, School of Communication, Yonsei University
Young-Gil Chae, Professor, Media and Communication Division, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Project Members:

Dr. Eujong Kim (Institute for Communication Research, Yonsei University)
Ms. Eui-Kyung Shin (Doctoral student, Yonsei University)


On October 10, 2014, a team of four researchers from Korea led by Professor Yong-Chan Kim of Yonsei University and Professor Young-Gil Chae of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies presented their research in the Biotope Salon. The team conducts research on the viability of urban community in local neighborhoods in Seoul. Their research is firmly based on communication infrastructure theory. The theory posits that a “storytelling network” in a neighborhood, consisting of residents, community organizations and community media, is a core infrastructure for enabling viable community. Based on the theory, the research project takes a multi-method approach to investigate storytelling networks of neighborhoods in urban Seoul.


Presentation of Yong-Chan Kim

In their three years project, the researchers employ interviews, field observations, and surveys to examine the current state of storytelling networks in neighborhoods. Based on their empirical research, the researchers aim to provide possible directions for building viable communities in urban neighborhoods.


Presentation of Yong-Gil Chae

In the Biotope Salon, Professors Kim and Chae mainly reported on their first year’s research that focused on interviewing community media and organizations. They presented specific cases of community media and organizations in several neighborhoods in Seoul. Based on their interviews, they coined the term “Maeul community media.” Maeul community media are specifically led by dedicated community members or organizations who tend to engage in constructing alternative community identity and development. Maeul community media participants engage in media production and distribution processes and also in the broader mission of constructing community in their neighborhood. In response to Professors Kim and Chae’s presentations, many questions and comments were posed by interested participants of Biotope Salon.


International Members from Canada, Japan, Korea, Poland, and Taiwan

During their trip to Tokyo this time, the Korean research team met with leaders and activists in Kawaguchi Media Seven, Chuo-ku’s citizen-led video making project, and Bunkyo-ku’s grassroots community organizations.

20141009_kawaguchi media seven_alltogether2

Meeting with Mr. Noma and Mr. Sato: Core Staff of Kawaguchi Media Seven



Interview with Mr. Kuroki, Ms. Shiomi, and Mr. Ichioka: Local Leaders of Life Long Education and Media Practices of Bunkyo-ku


(Joo-Young Jung: Associate Professor of International Christian University)

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July 17, Shige Shiramizu’s refreshing map of Hawaii and Okinawa

Dr. Shigehiko (Shige) Shiramizu, a visiting scholar of the iii, UTokyo, an eminent professor of media anthropology on ethnic media, local media, and alternative media in the faculty of global media studies, Komazawa University, Japan made a presentation about his life long ethnography on Okinawan in Hawaii.



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June 5: Shin told the early story of media studies, and magazine “5”

Shin Mizukoshi told the story of beginning, why and how he has engaged in media studies. And presented about the continuous perspective: media studies with design oriented mind. One of the fruit of the perspective is the magazine 5: Designing Media Ecology which would published at the end of June, 2014.





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April 24 Challenge of Art-Based Research by Laurel Hart

Insta.nalysis: Combining social media photography applications with blended arts-based research methodologies

During our media biotope salon in April, Laurel Hart, a visiting SSHRC scholar from Montreal, Canada gave a presentation entitled “Insta.nalysis: Combining social media photography applications with blended arts-based research methodologies.”

IIIT U Tokyo Insta.Nalysis .pptx

In this presentation, Hart shared her research of mobile photography as alternative media source, and the role of social media practices in the creation and sharing of local knowledge, as well as means of informal community education. The term mobile photography is used to describe social-media based photography practices that take place on smartphones through the use of sharing and editing applications, such as Instagram. In her presentation, Hart demonstrated how mobile photography can be viewed as an alternative, grass-roots media practice that enables individual and collective identity construction. She also explained how researchers could implement mobile photography as a key feature of a research methodology that combines arts-based research methods with the qualitative method of grounded theory (for more information see Hart, 2013).

Hart provided a brief overview of her 2011 #mymontreal research project, which was designed as a self-study to identify how mobile photography could facilitate artistic, open-ended and inductive research. Key characteristics of her method include: 1) an ongoing, daily photographic practice within a determined context, 2) the use of tags to assist with interpretation of images, as well as initial categorization of like groups (the tags function as instantaneous, participant generated codes), and 3) the use of photo-elicited memories triggered by review of the images and the grouping of images based on reoccurring themes.

This “mobile photography methodology” incorporates a multitude of unique characteristics present within the technology and daily practice of mobile photography. The resulting research goes beyond the written word to create a visual and poetic, intimate and affective presentation of participant’s first-hand experiences surrounding a given topic (Hart, 2013).   By utilizing a modified version of constant comparison to group the photos, key themes can be developed inductively, and layered meanings are presented through the exhibition of groups of images that are presented together with poetry or prose developed from photographic captions, tags and participant’s associated memories (Hart).

Hart, L. (2013). Instant Analysis: Mobile Photography as a Research Method. Canadian Art Teacher. 12(1), 24-27.

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May 8: Local Photo Karuta by Yuko Tsuchiya

Yuko Tsuchiya, a visiting scholar, and alumna of iii, UTokyo, and associate professor of media studies, Hiroshima University of Economics showed her media practices with photo karuta: photo card game of Japanese alphabet in several local communities.

Detailed report will be put up soon.

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