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Milla Mariella Susanna Heikkinen, MA, Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Finland

Future Attitudes Towards Japanese Families: The Stigmas that Impede Family Ideals 

"I am a second year East Asian Studies master’s degree student at the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Finland. I graduated in May 2017 with a BA in Global Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, NE, USA, where I have spent the majority of my school years after moving from Vantaa, Finland at the age of eight. Last summer I completed an internship at the Lincoln Asian Community and Cultural Center as the Grant Writing and Resource Development intern, where I learned valuable skills in working for a non-profit organization.

I am currently finishing my studies at CEAS by writing my MA thesis and planning to graduate in May. My MA thesis topic revolves around Japanese families and the attitudes toward family by the next generation of parents, as well as the impact of prevailing stigmas in society. The goal of my research is to figure out how the prevailing stigmas and society are preventing young adults from wanting to have children in the future and to acknowledge that the current government programs are geared toward today’s parents and not those of tomorrow."


Call for Papers: AsiaInFocus

Friday, April 5, 2019


Call for Papers for Asia in Focus, Issue 8

Asia in Focus is an entirely free open access publication devoted to research on modern Asian societies from the standpoint of the humanities and the social sciences, with Level 1 ranking in Norway. Now in its second year of publication, Asia in Focus has published an extremely wide range of subject areas from political economy and societal change, to international relations, popular culture, literature, education and film.


We operate a triple-blind review process; the identity of the reviewers and authors are not disclosed to either party. We usually publish two issues per year and have a short turnaround time for the entire review and publishing process (6 months).


  • Submissions should be made via (register as an Author)
  • Submissions must follow APA style referencing
  • Authors must refer to for full details on how to submit
  • The deadline for submissions is 5 April 2019

More information.

New workplace student at NIAS

NIAS is happy to welcome Iben Carlsen.

Iben writes:

I am studying Advanced Migration Studies, an interdisciplinary master’s degree at University of Copenhagen and I hold a BA degree in International Development Studies from Roskilde University. As a part of my studies, I have spent one semester in Tamil Nadu in India and done an internship with the Danish Embassy in Myanmar.

Research Area
I am writing my master’s thesis on community-based tourism (CBT) in Myanmar (Burma). 
CBT offers an alternative to mass tourism by focusing on sustainability and empowerment of marginalised communities. Based on fieldwork done in different CBT sites in Myanmar, I research how CBT is understood among external stakeholders working with CBT and how it is practised within the communities. I also look into different meanings of empowerment and to what extent CBT can be used as an empowerment tool in the context Myanmar where the military is still a powerful force.


Hanna Zwolińska, MA, Berlin School of Economics and Law and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu.

A cross-cultural analysis of Polish and Chinese tourist sensory experience and its use for marketing purposes

"I am a Chinese-European Economics and Business student at the Berlin School of Economics and Law and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu. The master thesis will include theoretical background regarding cultural differentiation, tourism marketing, and sensory experience. The hypothesis is that when travelers visit a certain destination (in this case Huanglongxi ancient city near Chengdu) the larger the cultural distance, the deeper and stronger the sensory experience. A survey conducted among three groups visiting the city (Chinese living in Chengdu, Chinese living far from Chengdu, and Poles) aims to measure these experiences and identify the major differences between them. Finally, the results will be used to design adequate marketing strategies targeting each of those groups." 



Dakyeong Lee, MA, University of Oslo

Implementing "healthy cities": a qualitative study of policymakers' experience with fostering intersectoral collaboration to promote healthy cities in the SDG era

"I am a second-year student studying master’s in International Community Health at the University of Oslo. I received my B.A degree of Political Science at Dongguk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. As a student who studied political science, I have a strong passion for working in the fields of health equality, global health governance, climate change, environmental health and gender equality. Currently, I am working on my master’s project which focuses on World Health Organization’s ‘Healthy Cities Project’ and the United Nation’s new global governance, ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. My current master thesis was carried out in Seoul, which is one of the biggest megacities in the world. Main aim of this research is to investigate perceptions and experience of policymakers in Seoul metropolitan area toward healthy cities and Sustainable Development Goals. This research also explored how local policymakers in Seoul have implemented the healthy cities concept to the local level to foster intersectoral collaboration to reduce health inequalities."

Workplace student at NIAS

Ninna Frandsen Thorup will be a workplace student at NIAS until summer 2019

“I am a master student at the department of anthropology at University of Copenhagen. Last year I spend a semester in Taiwan to do fieldwork for my thesis. My master thesis concerns how leftist students in Taiwan pursue national independence. In particular I analyse how the students perform a particular national identity and how this identity relates to gender relations and generational circumstances. I look into how the students express their frustrations about living in a nation they hope one day to be independent under the name Taiwan and also how this frustration motivates them to engage with political issues. Further I am interested in how changes in the political landscape in Taiwan shape the students’ engagement with politics, and during my fieldwork I followed the local elections held in Taiwan."

New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Nguyen Thanh Tam has just arrived at NIAS, she will be here for the next 3 months.

Tam is a legal adviser on international trade and business law at the Law Office Huynh Nam, Hanoi, Viet Nam. She is Associate Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of International Trade and Business Law at Hanoi Law University in Viet Nam.

During Tam’s stay as a guest researcher at NIAS, she is working on the political, economic and legal issues for Nordic businesses operating in “globalizing” Viet Nam. The purpose of the research is to support Nordic businesses to understand better the advantages and challenges of the business environment in Viet Nam - an emerging market, which is smaller than other Asian markets, but not less attractive in the context of new trends of global and ASEAN’s FDI.

The outputs of the research will be an article published in an academic journal and a presentation / talk about the business environment in “globalizing” Viet Nam.

New workplace student at NIAS

Ívar Vincent Smárason is a new workplace student at NIAS, he will be at NIAS until this Summer.

Ívar writes:
"I am writing my master’s thesis on the topic of China‘s Arctic policy. I specifically want to focus on how the Nordic countries have reacted to and conceptualised China’s involvement in the Arctic, especially in terms of investment and infrastructure projects. The Arctic is a bold new frontier for China with lots of possibilities but there are equally as many obstacles. Recently, there has been some public backlash to China’s engagement within the Nordic countries. This begs the question whether China’s involvement in the Arctic vis-à-vis the Nordic countries has permanently harmed their “Arctic identity” in any way, and whether that might impact China’s future Arctic aspirations?

I am a master’s student at Lund University in Sweden where I study Asian studies, focusing on China. I hold a BA degree in political science from the University of Iceland.”



Yan Wang, PhD, Faculty of Educational Sciences University of Helsinki
Comparative Study of Primary Science Curriculla in Finland and China in respect to goals for scientific literacy and 21st century competencies

I am a doctoral student at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. My doctoral thesis examines how the National Primary Science Curricula in Finland and China (a) specify the objectives of scientific literacy (b) have adopted the concept of 21st century competencies. The discussion is based on theories of curriculum and reflections on the three visions of scientific literacy. My research interests include comparative studies, science education, and curriculum studies.


Zhang Chuanyue, PhD, East China Normal University (Guest PhD, Aarhus University).

Community Education Development in Rural China Under The Returning Flow of The Middle Class A Case Study of Moon Village

I am a Phd student of East China Normal University, I am now a guest Phd student of Department of Global Studies of Aarhus University. My major is Education and my current research topic is Community Education Development in Rural China Under the Returning Flow of The Middle class ----A case study of Moon Village. The purpose of the research is to identify educational factors which have enhanced rural residents’ self-directed learning abilities influenced by the new villagers come from urban area.






Erkki Viitasaari, PhD, University of Helsinki.

Standing out Among Giants - National Museums in Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Palau.

I am a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, Department of World Cultures, East Asian Studies. In my research I study the national museums of Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Palau - all small nations compared to their immediate neighbors in what I have defined as Greater Southeast Asia. All these nations have a history under Japanese rule, the depiction of which is one of my topics. Another one is how the poorly-documented pre-European period is presented in the exhibitions.


An interview from 2000 with China’s Vice President Xi Jinping. Translated into Western language for the first time

At the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China to be held in November 2012, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to be elected as the new Secretary General of the party.
In August 2000, Xi Jinping gave a rare interview to the Chinese magazine Zhonghua Ernü. NIAS, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies hereby issues a translation of the interview in Danish and English. To our knowledge this the first time the interview has been translated into a Western language. The Danish version is a translation of the original interview in Chinese while the English version is translated from the Danish version. The translated interview was published in the Danish newspaper Politiken on Sunday 28 October 2012.
In the interview Xi Jinping tells about his background, his upbringing and his perception of good governance. In a personal and at times riveting way Xi Jinping explains how he during the Cultural Revolution only 15 years old was sent to the countryside for 7 years – 1,000 km away from Beijing – in order to learn from the peasants while his father was under political criticism. Moreover, Xi Jinping talks about the promotion of officials and corruption.
The interview is translated by the sinologists Carsten Boyer Thøgersen and Susanne Posborg. Carsten Boyer Thøgersen is a former Danish diplomat and Consul-General in Shanghai, posted for 20 years in China and now an associate of NIAS. Susanne Posborg, University of Aarhus, is the most often used Danish translator of Chinese novels and literature.
Researchers and news media are welcome to quote from the English translation if NIAS is stated as the source.

Remark, October 2018

In 2012, the same year as Xi Jinping was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, NIAS posted this translation on our web-site.
Today, six years later, Xi Jinping has become one of the most important Chinese leaders since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
The translation from 2012 comprised 95% of the 2000 interview with Xi Jinping. The updated translation is the full text of the interview. Moreover, the number of footnotes have been expanded considerably.
Geir Helgesen
Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
University of Copenhagen

On the Xi Jinping interview in 2000.                       

By Carsten Boyer Thøgersen and Susanne Posborg
Officially, the interview has never been promoted by the Chinese authorities. Neither in 2000 nor today. The interview is accessible on Chinese web-sites and was in February 2012 once more published in another Chinese commercial magazine, owned by a Xi’an based Chinese shareholding media company. 
If interviewed today, Xi Jinping would probably have phrased himself differently. But the interview was already published 12 years ago, has been available since then and known to an increasingly larger Chinese public. What can the Chinese authorities do? They do nothing and do not comment on the interview.
Xi Jinping was 47 years old and governor of Fujian province when he gave the interview in 2000. At the time he was relatively unknown and not even a full member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. It is not often but neither unusual that a governor of a Chinese province gives a long personal interview to a Chinese magazine. Looking back Xi Jinping gave the interview two years before the party leadership –known for its long-term planning – was to decide on younger candidates to be promoted at the party congress in 2002 and later – at the following party congress in 2007 – to select the possible successor of Hu Jintao in 2012. In 2007 Xi Jinping became a member of standing committee of the Politbureau, indicating he was to become Hu Jintao’s successor in 2012.
Giving the interview back in 2000, the purpose of Xi Jinping was hardly to make himself known as a potential young candidate for promotion. The party itself is fully aware of possible candidates for the party’s top positions and does not welcome reminders. Most likely Xi Jinping wanted to make sure that his background was fully understood, told properly and to stress three things: 1) During the Cultural Revolution he stayed for seven years in the countryside under difficult conditions and only by his own efforts became a member of the party and enrolled at university. That is to say not by political connections and in spite of the fact that his father at the time was under political criticism. 2) In 1982, he chose to give up a comfortable career in Beijing and instead started from the bottom as deputy secretary in a small provincial district. 3) To appear as a person in close contact to ordinary people.
The extraordinary thing about the interview is to hear what China’s new leader said in 2000 in an open and direct conversation. There is nothing unusual in what Xi Jinping said in 2000. Neither read in 2012. But we hear Xi Jinping tell about personal experiences in words he hardly would use today. We hear about his views on good governance, promotion of officials and corruption. The interview gives the reader a more authentic and unfiltered picture of the person to become China’s next leader.

Xi Jinping: My road into politics.

Interview from the summer of 2000 in the Chinese journal Zhonghua Ernü.
Xi Jinping at the time was 47 years old and governor in the Fujian province.
Yang Xiaohuai was the editor of Zhonghua Ernü.
Copyright © 2000 by中华儿女,北京市朝阳区东三环南路98号韩建丹阳大厦15层,邮编:100021
Xi Jinping: Welcome here.[1] I have previously said no thank you to personal interviews innumerable times. We all have different tasks. If you do not mention everybody, then you are only emphasizing yourself. You can also put it differently: When we are all doing our duty within our respective area of responsibility, then it is the community that creates the results. Therefore, it makes no sense mentioning the individual. That is the reason why I have refused giving personal interviews. There are also people who write autobiographies. I do not do that either.
Yang Xiaohuai: I thought so. That kind of thing can easily lead to misunderstandings.
Xi: Particularly if you look at the popular media. You write about a person’s background. Who are her parents? Who is she married to? She is such and such a person. What’s the use of that? That kind of information is not news. It is something everybody knows already. You make a little soup of it. It is unimportant.
Yang: Obviously that kind of publicity is unimportant and superfluous. But as a high-level official[2] you are in the focus of the formation of public opinion. The press and the media can help people better understand your work. That kind of public mention I think is important.
Xi: Of course you can write about leading officials. To a certain extent. But you must preserve the sense of proportions. There is a tendency to write that a leading official is so and so perfect and so and so excellent, but in reality nobody is perfect and consummate. Take a person and describe him as excellent. Nobody will believe it. An individual’s ability to get results on his own is limited. Without the community and without cooperation you will achieve nothing. Therefore, I believe that it is better to focus on the community and cooperation.
Yang: I fully agree with you. The writing about high-level official shall also include the relation between the person and the community as well as the relation between the person and leading groups. The work of our Communist Party concerns the whole community and never stops. Our generation stands on the shoulders of previous generations. Our achievements belong to the community and leading groups.