The 69th GJS SeminarProducing Bifurcated Multidimensional Images of Japan: Negotiating the State, the Market, and the Profession at Liberal-oriented Chinese Commercial Newspapers 2009-2015

Date and time: October 27, 2020 (Tue.), 4:00-5:00PM
Venue: Online via Zoom
Speaker: DIAO Tiantian (Ph.D. Candidate in Japanese Studies, the University of Hong Kong)
Language: English
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This doctoral project examines the production of bifurcated multidimensional images of Japan through the reporting of liberal Chinese commercial newspapers between 2009 and 2015. This dissertation posits that Chinese media's news coverage of Japan is produced in an idiosyncratic and paradoxical media system, which is semi-commercialized but still operates under an authoritarian political regime. This study considers Chinese media's ideological divergence and pays particular attention to the three pro-liberal, and influential commercial newspapers— The Beijing News, Oriental Morning Post, and Southern Metropolis Daily. These newspapers serve the population of metropolitan areas of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province respectively. In doing so, they have been playing a significant role in advancing China's journey on the digital highway. Using a mixed research methodology that combines news content analysis, semi-structured interviews, and case-study analysis, this research reveals the complex behind-the-scenes struggle in Japan-related news production. Building upon existing scholarship, this dissertation puts forward a conceptual framework that reflects the interplay of three key drivers (called logics) of three important actors in the Chinese media system today: the State (propaganda logic), the consumers and profit making entities (market logic) and the professional news producers themselves (limited journalistic professional logic). Taken in totality, this conceptual model unpacks the complexity of authoritarian China's news production environment, and the news coverages' resultant impact has had on how Chinese people view Japan. This dissertation argues that through the interaction and contestation between these three logics, the pro-liberal commercial newspapers have produced bifurcated multidimensional images of Japan. i.e. images that are both highly critical of Japanese government versus images highly appraise Japan's social development, attractive culture and aesthetic values. The dissertation argues against the assumption of the monolithic, negative portrayal of Japan that much of the literature assumes China to have. This doctoral research will contribute to the scholarship in Japanese studies, to Media Studies in authoritarian system as well as to provide new perspectives on media development in China.

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Organizer: Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA)
Contact: gjs[at]