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Seekyung Chung, Ma, University of Tampere.

Higher Education as Choice of Individuals: An Empirical Analysis of Individuals' Behavior of Education Decision-Making in South Korea. 

For my master’s thesis I have studied on a phenomenon of higher education expansion in South Korea by exploring individuals’ decision-making behavior and I have just graduated from University of Tampere, Finland. It has been of interest to delve into rationale behind heated investment in education across South Korean society. In order to shad light on causality with respect to choice and effects of higher education, I examined relevant factors of decision on higher education based on literature concerning sociology and economics of education and furthermore investigated actual monetary and non-monetary returns to education in the labor market. Currently, I am writing a research proposal to apply for PhD position. For a doctoral study, I am keen to research further into individuals’ choice and effects of higher education by conducting comparative study between Asia and Nordic countries.


Mária Kubincová, Ma, University of Turku.

Media Discourses on the Collective Identity of Hikikomori.

I am currently a 2nd year MA student in East Asian Studies at CEAS, University of Turku. My research is focusing on the phenomenon called hikikomori. The term originated in Japan and refers to people of various age groups, who voluntarily isolate themselves from the society, by staying shut in (usually) in their own rooms for years, even decades. You might be familiar with this term, as it has repeatedly appeared in Japanese pop-culture. The phenomenon is now also gaining more recognition outside of Japan, most notably Italy, where numerous cases of self-isolated young people have sprung up in the recent years, bearing many similarities to cases in Japan. In my research, I want to focus on the changes in the general approach of Japanese society towards this group, as well as looking at the possibility of a collective identity beginning to form around hikikomori in Japan.