This paper discusses two issues in Japanese society in response to the new coronavirus infection. First Japan has a unique public health policy for dealing with infectious diseases compared to other countries. We managed to get through the second wave of the epidemic with this approach, but after the third wave, the limitations of the restrained use of PCR testing, cluster control, and self-restraint became apparent. As a result, Japan became the country in East Asia that failed the most in containment of infectious diseases. Second infection control measures have been considered only in the medical and economic spheres, neglecting the issues that arise in the social and cultural spheres. Despite the potential of ICT technology as a new channel of communication, due to economic disparity and generational division, the use of ICT technology has not yet become a tool that everyone can use. These two problems did not arise suddenly as a result of the Corona disaster but have become apparent as Japanese society has shifted to a steady-state economy and is still seeking further economic growth. In the coming decades, Japan will have to deal with massive earthquakes, torrential rains, climate change, global economic fluctuations, and geopolitical tensions in East Asia. At that time, we must consider the sustainability of Japanese society by ensuring intergenerational justice by incorporating the perceptions of future generations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to our society, economy, and lifestyle. The worldwide breakout of coronavirus is sometimes seen as a negative consequence of globalization. In this crisis, there is an increasing call from the protransnationalism camp for stronger cooperation and unity among countries. At the same time, we see rising nationalistic sentiments and movements in the form of tightening border restrictions and international competition over vaccine. As the new vocabulary “COVID nationalism”and“vaccine nationalism” suggest, there are heated discussions over the relationship between COVID-19 and nationalism. In this paper, I first provide an overview of the current debates based on textual materials gathered online. The second half furthers the discussion with a brief case study of Hong Kong.
In February 2020, Iran was one of the first countries in the Middle East to have experienced the rapid surge in infection and death cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A year later, at the time of writing, the surge continues to grow with a total death count of more than 60,000 and about 8,000 new infection cases per day. The present work overviews how, despite the government’s efforts to contain it, COVID-19 has spread throughout the country with such intensity. It sheds light on Iran’s plight, in particular, by attending to the broader international context in which the Americanled economic and financial sanctions have significantly restrained the country’s competence and capabilities to respond to COVID-19. Meanwhile, many religious leaders have offered the faithful various types of guidance on how to cope with the widespread disease. Their efforts to provide religious meaning and significance to the pandemic are an emerging trend uniquely found in Iran, a home to Shiite Muslims. Viewing their activities as a spiritual struggle, the religious leaders have rigorously joined the frontline fight in a variety of ways during this difficult time. The present work also looks at the scope and rationales of such activities and highlights some religious dimensions of the COVID-19 surge that increasingly garner attention in Iran.
According to the Basic law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (1990), the principle of "one country, two systems”, the socialist system and policies will not be practiced in Hong Kong. The basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong have been elaborated by the Chinese Government in the Sino-British Joint Declaration (1984). However, Laws of People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2020) issued by Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of PRC has been making Hong Kong society change. This paper discusses about conflict and problems between Hong Kong Basic Law (1990) and Safeguarding National Security Law (2020) and also discusses about Chinese way of rule of law and its difference of what global society is aiming for.
The purpose of this study is to understand the cultural impact of China's education policy by reflecting on historical changes and development of the nation’s education policy. In recent years, there have been many dissenting opinions about the policy of suzhi education reform in China. It can be said that the root cause of such controversy comes from the incompatibility between the implicit cultural meanings hidden behind China's educational policy and the explicit exam oriented culture of Chinese society. By understanding the characteristics of Chinese education policy in different times from a historical perspective, a functional analysis of Chinese exam oriented culture can be obtained through comparisons with people of differing education backgrounds. Based on the competitive nature of China's exam system, the functionality of education is brought into question. There is a social maxim where “everything is inferior, only study is high” and obtaining a high exam standing can bring social prestige as well as obtaining academic success. Meanwhile, individuals who do not perform as well will lose social standing and can even become socially ostracized as a result. On the other hand, this same examination culture motivates an individual’s pursuit of academics as it both increases their social standing and learning. From this form of motivation, there is a phenomenon called "exam fever" where there is a rapid expansion of more college entrance examinations and increase pressure to obtain greater academic achievements, such as diplomas, certifications and degrees. While certain groups may denounce these measures as excessive or even cruel, Chinese society has a way of adjusting to these changes to mitigate the negative results. Through the historical and cultural lens, this paper aims trace those societal trends as well as the development of how these adjustments help to reduce the common issues in China’s education system.
東南アジア諸国連合（ASEAN10ヵ国）に日中韓を加えた13ヵ国（ASEAN Plus Three=APT）が、2001年に「東アジア共同体」を提起してから今年で20年になる。このAPTにオーストラリア（豪）とニュージーランド（NZ）を加えた15 ヵ国は2020年、地域包括的経済連携（RCEP）協定を締結するなど進展もあったが、南沙諸島・尖閣諸島など領土問題や、徴用工・従軍慰安婦など戦争責任と戦後処理の問題があり、いまだに「東アジア人」としての一体感や連帯感の育つ環境ではない。しかし、それは主として政府間のことで、日常生活の中では人々の国境を超えた接触・交流の機会が増大し、次第に視野は東アジアに拡大している。 本稿は、その状況の中で東アジア共同体「構想」を推進するための基礎的で現実的なステップを追求する。
This paper revisits the debate on urbanism by clarifying how people living in Asian megacities construct personal networks to maintain or improve the quality of their urban lives. It focuses on personal networks utilised as individual’s risk response in Asian megacities, where more dynamic urbanisation progress, with a different cultural background to western societies. Using a common questionnaire, middle- and lower-class residents of Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo were surveyed. The analysis revealed that the structure of personal support networks differs depending on individual’s status (middle or lower classes) in Bangkok and Shanghai, and that people’s re-embedding into community can be observed in kinship in Shanghai, local communities in Bangkok, and association communities in Tokyo. The result suggests urban life in East Asian megacities does not follow a gradual linear progression of individualisation but has developed in a unique manner. The correlations of self-assessed life satisfaction with the size of enacted and perceived support networks were not clearly found, though with the quality (physical and psychological intimacy) of perceived networks with family members show a positive correlation in all surveyed cities. The given traditional relationship, kinships in particular, people are embedded in are likely the core of individual’s life, even though who are included there varies in three cities. It can be seen as a characteristic of East Asian urbanisation, yet further research is required to distinguish between the impact of the factors of urbanisation and local contexts.
Max Weber is one of the canonical three masters in classical sociology, having contributed his formidable mind toward consolidating the foundations of the field. However, the seemingly dense base erected by the trio is a lopsided one, since Weber—widely regarded as the Master of East-West Historical Comparison—was unable, for the most part, to throw off the mantle of nineteenth-century historicism. Indeed, Weber amassed little erudition about China and therefore should be reevaluated as a discredit to classical sociology. This article examines why students around the world, including those from China who ought to know better, have relied on the misguided claims made by Weber, despite their being no basis in Chinese historical records to support those claims.