CONSERVATIVE CHALLENGES TO FEMINISM ON THE JAPANESE INTERNET: AN HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

Tadahisa Hamada, Takaori Tamura

Abstract


Many people are concerned that Japanese society and politics have been drifting to the right in recent years. Abe Shinzo, current prime minister, is an extraordinary right-wing nationalist. He repeatedly said that the "comfort women" were not coerced into becoming sexual slaves by the former Japanese Imperial Army during WWII. He also broke an unwritten agreement and visited Yasukuni shrine on December 26, 2013, where hundreds of war criminals are enshrined. This irritated not only China and Korea governments but also the U.S.

Among the supporting groups for this tendency are rightist groups and Internet users with rightist or racist ideas who are also largely anti-feminist. 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 conference spaces (Hamada & Onoda 2003:41-43). However, in recent years we are facing a paradoxical situation in which the Internet is being used by backlash groups to attack feminists and minority groups in Japan. This paper argues that one of backgrounds of this phenomenon was the marginalization of feminism in Japan both on the Internet and in real politics. We describe how and why feminism became marginalized 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.


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