Political Friction Counterpoised by Pop Culture-Japan, China and South Korea

Dr Seiko Yasumoto1

1The University Of Sydney, Australia

The study investigates, over a period of fifteen years, the Japanese government standpoints and national media reporting in the context of political friction between Japan, China and South Korea over the ownership of Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Dao) and Takeshima Islands (Dokdo). The political issues are overlaid with regional popular culture and social media engagement. The research questions are 1) What is the historical foundation for the geographical disputation? 2) Why is the political resolution of the island disputes so tenuous? 3) Can social media and popular culture mediate political friction? Triangulation is the applied research methodology comprising analysis of Japanese Government documents, relevant Asahi, Mainichi and Sankei Newspaper articles, and surveys of the opinions of some four hundred university students. The tranche of students was selected to gauge their views, given their contemporary infusion of East Asian popular culture and social media. The topic has very sensitive issues, not the least of which is the disparate national needs for natural resources with expanding regional and global populations and the relevance and positioning of international law in the context of dispute resolution. This study breaks new ground by concluding whether the ‘hot’ political approaches to the island disputes are softened by regional popular culture and social media.


Dr. Seiko Yasumoto is a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney. Her primary research encompasses media and cultural studies within the domain of East Asian popular culture. Her focus is inclusive of government media policies, copyright and media cultural flows in the region. She is currently Vice President of the Oriental Society of Australia (OSA)


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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