The Perils of Populist Nationalism: Japan and Korea in a New Era


Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 4:15pm to 5:45pm


Tsai Auditorium (S010), CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Special Panel Discussion; jointly sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center, the Kim Koo Forum on Korea Current Affairs at the Korea Institute, the Program on U.S. Japan Relations, and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies
10.29 KKF

Andrew Gordon, Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University
Carter Eckert, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History, Harvard University
Gi-Wook Shin, William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea, Stanford University

Gi-Wook Shin is the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea in sociology and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He established Stanford’s Korea Program in 2001, and has been directing the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford since 2005. His research concentrates on social movements, nationalism, development, and international relations, with focus on Korea and broader Asia. Shin is the author/editor of over twenty books and numerous articles, including Divergent Memories: Opinion Leaders and the Asia-Pacific War, One Alliance, Two Lenses: U.S.-Korea Relations in a New Era, Cross Currents: Regionalism and Nationalism in Northeast Asia, and Ethnic Nationalism in Korea. Shin’s current research initiatives include Global Talent Flows and Rise of Populism and Nationalism. Before coming to Stanford, Shin taught at the University of Iowa and the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds BA from Yonsei University in Korea and MA and PhD from the University of Washington.

Moderated by Susan Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics; Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

The rise of populist nationalism is a global trend in the 21st century, from the United States and European countries to South American and Asian states. Japan and South Korea, where nationalism is deeply ingrained within and throughout the society, have become more vulnerable to the ferocious spread of populism, which could harm their democratic institutions and strain foreign relations. In his talk, Professor Gi-Wook Shin will explain the historical context and political nature of the widespread populist nationalism in South Korea and how it has strained its relations with Japan and could potentially put its young democracy at jeopardy. He will also explore how to cultivate rational liberalism in the face of rising nationalism, populism, and extremism, so as to promote reconciliatory relations between Japan and South Korea. Two historian-panelists, Carter Eckert and Andrew Gordon, will then engage in a critical conversation with the speaker to further discuss the perils of populist nationalism.