News headlines and ethnic minorities in Japan

―Reporting the `hate speech law` of 2016―

November 22, 2018 6:00 PM (finished)

Iwona Merklejn

(Aoyama Gakuin University)

Date/Time November 22, 2018 6:00 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract In this talk we present the results of the first stage of a long-term project: `News media and ethnic minorities in Japan: representation, discrimination, diversity`. The final aim is to provide a more precise, nuanced analysis of media discourse about ethnic minorities than existing qualitative (critical discourse analysis) and quantitative (statistical analysis) methods allow, and to develop a machine learning tool instrumental in that kind of analysis. We intend to reveal a variety of subjective attitudes towards minorities that media implicitly promote, such as indifference, reluctance, hostility, aggression, favour, and enthusiasm. We start with a selective analysis of the media debate surrounding the so-called `hate speech law` (Anti-Discrimination Act) enacted in Japan in 2016. We take a closer look at the types of facts relevant to both hate speech and the Act reported in Japan’s five leading national newspapers. The analysis is based on a sharp distinction between facts, reports and opinions. This distinction turns out to be challenging when applied to precise analysis of media texts. Nevertheless, we argue that it is a proper starting point for investigating how news media shape the gradation of attitudes towards minorities—an urgent topic for all contemporary societies, including Japan.
Bio Iwona Merklejn is an associate professor at the School of Cultural and Creative Studies, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Her research interests include media representations of minorities, media and nationalism, and media and sport. Prior to her current position, she was a postdoctoral JSPS fellow at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo (2010-2011) and a visiting researcher/part-time lecturer at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo (2012-2015). She has also taught media theory at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Nomi, Ishikawa. Her latest publication is: “Sport, media and technonationalism in the history of the Tokyo Olympics”, in: Fabienne Darling-Wolff (ed.), “Handbook of Japanese Media”, Routledge 2018. Jan Wiślicki is an assistant professor at the Department of Formal Linguistics, University of Warsaw, Poland. He obtained a PhD in linguistics (with a specialization in classical Japanese) from the University of Warsaw in 2015. His research was sponsored by the Japan Foundation with a scholarship at the Faculty of Letters, University of Tokyo (2012-2013). He has been working on generative syntax and formal semantics of natural language, in particular on the theory of quotation (latest publication: “Quotation as a Challenge for Feature-Driven Phases: An Argument for Zwart`s Merge”, forthcoming in The Linguistic Review).