Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia
Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.
The Challenge of Studying Digital Asia - An Introduction to the academic journal 'Asiascape: Digital Asia'
written by Florian Schneider, editor of Asiascape: Digital Asia
In August and September 2012, the Internet was awash with Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese discussions over a set of islands in the East China Sea that the governments of all three nations lay claim to. The dispute has been a recurring issue in East Asian regional relations, but over the past decade more and more people have become "switched into" this seemingly classic-realist international relations topic through new information and communication technologies (ICTs).
As millions of bloggers and tweople followed the actions of activists and politicians, and as nationalist protests spilled into the streets in China and Japan, one post on the Chinese micro-blogging service Weibo inspired particularly heated discussions. Yet the post did not come from a politician or from an activist. It did not call for the burning of more flags, for boycotts of foreign goods, or for decisive military intervention. The post was a calligraphy that promoted the friendship between the people of China and Japan, and it had been sent by the Japanese porn star Sola Aoi.
With the speed that arguably only digital communication allows, the calligraphy travelled across the region, reaching over 13 million people. It received more than 140,000 comments - many derogatory, but many also critically discussing the conflict, as well as the meaning of national identity in 21st century East Asia.
This example is symptomatic of the challenges that established academic disciplines face as they explore developments in an increasingly interlinked region such as Asia. The ubiquity of digital ICT fuels processes that have always been complex and dynamic, but it has arguably never before facilitated and shaped politics, economics, culture, and society to such a degree as today.
Other examples from the region abound: In South Korea, online computer games have become so popular that individual matches are broadcasted on TV. In South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, election campaigns are accompanied by online activism in the form of twitter and blogging, which in turn has inspired Taiwanese and South-Korean politicians to integrate new media content into their campaigns. In India, the government is building a controversial digital biometric database that will include personal information on over a billion citizens, allowing for unprecedented experiments in e-governance.
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