Chauvinist Discourse in Japanese Internet Cyberspace and the (Non-) Subjectivity Constituted by Digital Media Technology

Dr Satofumi Kawamura1

1Kanto Gakuin University, Yokohama, Japan

The problem of the Internet chauvinists in Japan, so-called “net-uyo”, has been discussed over the past decade. Net-uyo is the name of the anonymous users who express racist, xenophobic, and chauvinistic views on Internet textboards. Although they seem to be a reappearance of the Japanese imperial nationalists in pre-war Japan, there are the crucial differences between them. While the pre-war imperial nationalists were consistently mobilized as a subject by the Japanese imperialist ideology, net-uyos do not have a consistent subjectivity or ideology attached to them. This would mean that net-uyo cannot be grasped from the angle of modern national “subjectivity”. Instead, we have to focus on the condition facilitated by digital media technology, in which each individual is divided into the attributes of data, and the meanings and values of the data are generated as information through communication in the digital media network. Every individual is affected by the information and lacks an integrated or consistent perspective or subjectivity. This is the digital media condition, without any subject governing the situation. The net-uyo is not a subject, but rather a fragmented object affected by information. To criticize the net-uyo, I explore the theory on “affect”.


Satofumi Kawamura is Junior Associate Professor of philosophy and communication at Kanto Gakuin University. He holds degrees from Waseda University, Goldsmiths University of London and the Australian National University. His research interests are political and social theory and philosophy, Japanese modern philosophy, and media and cultural studies.


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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