Organized Panel Session
Civil society and protest movements in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, three functioning democracies in East Asia, have been an indispensable element in the making of their national politics. In recent years, however, there is another kind of conspicuous mobilization in the streets that disrupts the terrain of transformative politics. In Japan, there is a growing mobilization of an ultra-right movement particularly targeting Zainichi Koreans (ethnic Koreans in Japan). In Korea, Kwanghwamun Square is usually divided by a candlelight protest asserting progressive agenda and a conservative counter-protest denouncing every reform agenda. In Taiwan, protestant Christians have spearheaded the mobilization of conservative counter-movements, precipitating a new political alignment on the right.
This panel purports to analyze this important development in East Asian democracies by focusing on the rise of ultra-right counter-movements, which are not an isolated phenomenon in the age of Donald Trump, Brexit, and European rightwing populism. The papers in the panel analyze who the core members are, what strategies and ideas they employ to legitimate their political project, and how the targeted progressive side responds. By explicating the historical origins and political context through which conservative counter-movements arise and the political consequences they produce in interaction with progressive social movements, the proposed papers engage in conceptual discussions on counter-movements, movement framing and repertoires, and the role of social media in contemporary social activism. Together, this panel intends to generate comparative conversations on how the mobilization of conservative groups in East Asia differs from the far-right, xenophobic conservatives in Western democracies.