Hashtag activism found in translation: Unpacking the reformulation of #MeToo in Japan

Saki Mizoroki*, Limor Shifman, Kaori Hayashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2017, the MeToo hashtag spread across the globe. However, it showed limited success in the Japanese Twittersphere and instead inspired local initiatives such as #WeToo and #Furawādemo (“flower demo”). To understand this reformulation, we analyzed 15 interviews with Japanese social media users and 119 Japanese newspaper articles. The results corroborate the framework we label VTM (values, topics, media), suggesting that an intersection between perceived Japanese values, the topic’s gendered and sexual nature, and media affordances explain the movement’s local development. While perceived Japanese values clash against those associated with #MeToo, new formulations “soften” the protest by blending in values such as reserve and harmony. Overall, we show how perceptions of popular values rather than values as essential orientations shape activism. Finally, we discuss the study’s implications for understanding cultural variance in cyberactivism, highlighting how divergent notions of “safe space” shape such movements.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Keywords

  • Feminism
  • Japan
  • MeToo
  • Twitter
  • hashtag activism
  • social media
  • values

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