Organized Panel Session
Scholarly interest in transnational alliances among social movements in East Asia has intensified in recent years, with most attention focusing on the more visible network dimensions of activism. The question of transnationality, in turn, tends to be approached primarily in terms of organizational strategies and structures that help articulate and advance common values and interests across national borders. Much work has yet to be done, however, to better understand the transnational circulation and intersection of ideas, discourses, and practices between East Asian activist groups, and how these multi-faceted processes have reshaped their identities, thought, and action. This panel seeks to fill that gap by exploring diverse aspects of transnational linkages between activist groups in Japan, South Korea, and beyond. Simon Avenell examines how Japanese civic activists’ involvement in Asian issues during the 1960s and 1970s came to shape their mentalities and agendas, ultimately influencing the evolution of civil society in the country. Through the case of Tomiyama Taeko’s artistic works on the South Korean democratization movement, Misook Lee explores the dynamics of transnational information flows among Japanese, South Korean, and Southeast Asian activists. Sang-Hyun Kim traces how the critical perspectives on pollution developed by Japanese activist intellectuals such as Tsuru Shigeto influenced the formation of South Korea’s anti-pollution activism during the 1970s and early 1980s. Finally, in his paper on Korean and Japanese organic farming movements, Yon Jae Paik shows how transnational connections were not simply a response to immediate objectives, but also drew on deeper historical entanglements.