TALKThe Fight Against Hate in Osaka’s Koreatown

Date: July 7 (Fri.), 2023
Time: 18:00-20:00
Venue: Doshisha University, Karasuma Campus, Shikoukan Seminar Room (hybrid)
Speaker: Sharon Yoon (University of Notre Dame)
Organizer: Kyoto Consortium for Korean Studies (KCKS)
Coorganizer: Research group "Racism and Colonialism" under Global Mediterranean project

2023.06.16 UP


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.


Sharon J. Yoon is Associate Professor of Korean Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and is an ethnographer who specializes in the Korean diaspora. Her first book, The Cost of Belonging: Solidarity and Mobility in Beijing’s Koreatown (Oxford University Press, 2021), analyzed the intersections of ethnic entrepreneurship and community-building among Korean transnational migrants in China. Yoon’s second book, Place in the Age of Activism: The Fight Against Hate in Osaka’s Koreatown (under contract with Columbia University Press), examines an anti-racist movement that aimed to stop the rise of anti-Korean hate demonstrations in the largest and most historic Korean enclave in Japan.
Prior to joining the faculty at Notre Dame, Yoon was a Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the James Joo-Jin Kim Center for Korean Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, a Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at Osaka University, and an assistant professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Ewha Womans University. Yoon was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2021. Her work has been published by prominent journals such as the Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Politics & Society. In addition to her academic research, she has worked with think-tanks such as the Korea Economic Institute and the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, as well as local grassroots organizations in Asia.


Kyoto Consortium for Korean Studies (KCKS)