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Mária Kubincová, MA student, University of Turku

I am a student in the master's degree programme of East Asian Studies at CEAS. The topic of my thesis is the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori, also known as "social recluses" or "shut-ins", in other words, people who voluntarily cut their ties with society and stay inside their rooms or homes for months or even years. Originally, this problem was believed to be predominantly affecting young adult males in Japan, however latest surveys conducted by the Japanese government revealed potentially thousands of cases also among older Japanese citizens. Hikikomori is now considered to be one of the most pressing issues in contemporary Japanese society, and it is being recognised outside of Japan as well (Italy, South Korea, Finland...). In my research I am focusing on the media discourse and how the issue of hikikomori is presented in Japanese media, the stigmatisation of this condition and how it is contrasting with the self-image and self-representation of hikikomori.


Nicholas Bernardi, MA student, University of Turku

As a student of East Asian Studies, my thesis focuses on Japanese media and their degree of freedom in the face of external influence.
Japan is considered a strong democratic country, especially in East Asia, but it has faced strong criticism regarding press freedom from various organizations because of limitations imposed by its political class. Through a series of interviews to reporter actively involved with Japan, both from Japanese and international newspapers, I plan to collect their opinions on the topic of press freedom and see how much they overlap with the current academic view. The objective of this research is to re-analyse and find new aspects within the Japanese media system that will let us understand more clearly how impactful external influence is on Japanese press freedom.