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Online hafu Japanese communities: The uses of social networking services and their impact on identity formation.

Evanoff, Elia (2010) Online hafu Japanese communities: The uses of social networking services and their impact on identity formation. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This study examines how Social Networking Services (SNS) are used to form ethnic communities among hafu (Half Japanese) and the impact they have on identity formation. Hafu is the most common term in Japanese used to refer to people who have two different ethnic backgrounds. The term originated from the name of a popular celebrity group called Goruden Hafu (Golden Half) which emerged in the 1970s. Although there has been hafu in Japan for many years, hafu communities are a new phenomenon and it has only been within about the past five years that hafu have begun to form their own unique ethnic communities. The emergence of such communities is strongly linked to the development of the SNS, which has enabled people with similar interests and backgrounds to meet freely through the Internet. It is argued in this thesis that the Internet and new technologies are not only contributing to the formation of new relationships but are also radically transforming the ways in which the meanings and identities of ethnicities are produced. The fast growing mixi SNS service was used as a case study, with qualitative research on hafu communities being conducted over a period of one year. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the reasons why hafu form online ethnic communities despite the fact that the members have different ethnic backgrounds and do not share the same ethnic history, language, or culture. This study explores the interests hafu have in other hafu and investigates the motivations hafu have in participating in both online and offline events. Through an exploration of the cultural activities engaged in by hafu communities, this study address the issues of racial and ethnic discrimination and stereotypes experienced by hafu in Japan, as well as issues related to their sense of identity and belonging.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Multimedia Communications
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Sociology
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2223

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