The ANU Japan Institute Seminar Series showcases cutting-edge research by leading and emerging scholars based primarily in Australia and Japan. It aims to promote networking among Japan Studies scholars in the two countries and will feature innovative research on the bilateral relationship.

The virtual seminar series will run in 10-week blocks over the two semesters of the academic year (from 2021 to 2023), and will subsequently be made available online for public viewing. Join our mailing list to receive updates and reminders ahead of each seminar.

The virtual seminars will take place from:  

  • 5-6PM Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
  • 4-5PM Japan Standard Time (JST) 
  • 3-4PM Singapore Standard Time (STST)

After 1 October, with Australian Eastern Daylight Time

  • 5-6PM Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)
  • 3-4PM Japan Standard Time (JST) 
  • 2-3PM Singapore Standard Time (STST)

The silent protest: Understanding Sasangge’s role in South Korean pro-democracy movements  

A picture is worth a thousand words, but in 1966, the almost blank page featured in the foreword of the November issue of the South Korean intellectual magazine Sasangge (The World of Thought) bore a poignant message that eclipsed the value of any picture. It's few words, 'I'm sorry I didn't have the freedom to fill this page. Chang Chun-ha from Seoul Prison', were a moving note from the incarcerated magazine founder, Chang Chun-ha, a former independence fighter against Japanese rule and a pro-democracy activist. The magazine, one of the few platforms challenging the Park regime at that time, faced intense scrutiny by the government. Sasangge was ultimately deregistered in September 1970, four months after publishing the poet Kim Ji-ha's 'Ojŏk (Five Bandits)', a satirical poem that presented a thinly veiled criticism of the corrupt Park regime.  

In this repressive political environment, Professor Chi Myŏng-gwan's (1924-2022) affiliation with Chang and Sasangge compelled the intellectual to make a defining career choice. Unable to pursue an academic path, Chi emerged as a journalist and instrumental figure in bridging transnational intellectual ties between Japan, Korea, and the broader global community. Through a historical analysis centring on the period between 1965 and 1972 in South Korea, this presentation will explore the interaction between Chang and Chi and the influence this interaction had on Chi in later years. By examining the opportunities and impediments encountered by Chi during this period, this presentation will underline Sasangge's instrumental role in nurturing a Japan-based network that supported the pro-democracy movement in South Korea. This presentation is part of a larger PhD research project. The overarching goal of this research is to rethink the recent political history between South Korea and Japan through grassroots activism by transnational intellectual networks.


Younghye Seo-Whitney, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University's School of Culture, History and Language, focuses on transnational intellectual networks in South Korea’s pro-democracy movements of the 1960s-80s. Prior to her doctoral studies, Younghye completed an MPhil, also at the Australian National University, where she laid the foundational groundwork for her current research focus. Her doctoral research project focuses on the role played by transnational intellectual networks in South Korea’s pro-democracy movement during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Through an in-depth analysis of rare primary source materials, Younghye is endeavouring to rediscover an intricate network of actors that operated between Korea, Japan, and beyond during this period.

She has presented at multiple conferences, recently receiving a research award and a 2022 National Library of Australia Asia Study Grant. In addition to her research, Younghye lectures Korean at Curtin University, Western Australia, and is an affiliate researcher at the Korea Research and Engagement Centre of Western Australia. Residing in Western Australia with her family, Younghye continues to navigate the challenges of remote academic engagement.

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