The University of Tokyo
Interfaculty Initiative for Information Studies

Jason G. KARLIN, Ph.D


Gender Studies, Media Studies, Social Media, Computer Mediated Communication







  • AKB48, co-authored with Patrick W. Galbraith (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).
  • Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan: Modernity, Loss, and the Doing of History (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2014).

Edited Volumes

  • Mathieu Deflem, Hiroshi Takahashi, Dimitri Vanoverbeke, and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Law and Culture in Japan: Institutions, Justice, and Media (Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, forthcoming).
  • Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Media Convergence in Japan (Ann Arbor, MI: Kinema Club, 2016). 
  • Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture (London: Palgrave, 2012).

Journal Articles

  • “The Gender of Nationalism: Competing Masculinities in Meiji Japan,” The Journal of Japanese Studies 28.1 (Winter 2002): 41-77. 
  • “Gender, Nationalism, and the Problem of Ideology in Women’s History,” Social Science Japan Newsletter 30 (December 2004): 5-7.

Book Chapters

  • “Introduction: At the Crossroads of Media Convergence in Japan,” in Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Media Convergence in Japan (Ann Arbor, MI: Kinema Club, 2016), 1-28. 
  • “Precarious Consumption After 3/11: Television Advertising in Risk Society,” in Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Media Convergence in Japan (Ann Arbor, MI: Kinema Club, 2016), 30-59. 
  • “Introduction: The Mirror of Idols and Celebrity,” in Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 1-32. 
  • “Through a Looking Glass Darkly: Television Advertising, Idols and the Making of Fan Audiences,” in Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, eds. Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 72-93. 
  • “Narratives of Heroism in Meiji Japan: Nationalism, Gender, and Impersonation,” in Andrea Germer, Vera Mackie, and Ulrike Woehr, eds. Gender, Nation, and State in Modern Japan (London: Routledge, 2014), 48-67.
  • 「近代日本の青年のバンカラと暴力」 (Japanese Youth Culture and the Rise of Male Primitivism and Violence in Modern Japan), in Katō Chikako and Hosoya Minoru, eds. 『ジェンダー史叢書、第5巻: 社会秩序の暴力、戦争』 (Gender History Series, vol. 5: The Social Order of Violence and War) (Tokyo: Akashi Shoten 赤石書店, 2009), 196-200.
  • “The Tricentennial Celebration of Tokyo: Inventing the Modern Memory of Edo,” in Yamaji Hidetoshi and Jeffrey E. Hanes, eds. Image and Identity: Rethinking Japanese Cultural History (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, 2004), 215-227. 


Academic Positions







Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo

Tenured Associate Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo

Associate Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo

Associate Professor, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo

Assistant Professor, Department of History, The University of Florida

Visiting Lecturer, Department of History, Michigan State University





Ph. D. in History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.A. in History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A. in Asian Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Other Professional Activity







Editor and Web Designer, Japanese Media and Popular Culture

Advisory Board Member, InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture

Information, Technology, and Society in Asia (ITASIA), Program Director

“The World Hobbit Project” (with Martin Barker, Matt Hills, and Ernest Mathijis)

International Editorial Board Member, Social Science Japan Journal (Oxford UP)

Managing Editor, Social Science Japan Journal (Oxford UP)


ITASIA 301: Media and Communication Studies: Research Methodologies and Ethics (Lecture/Methods)



This graduate-level class aims to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary methodologies and approaches in media and communication studies. Through a series of lectures and hands-on exercises, students will develop the skills necessary to critically analyze the intersections of media, technology, and society. The course places a strong emphasis on the application of cutting-edge research methods, such as social media analytics, web scraping, data mining, generative AI, and data visualization. By the end of the course, students will have gained practical experience in collecting, analyzing, and presenting data, as well as a deep understanding of research ethics in media studies. The course ultimately prepares students to engage with the current state of the field and contribute to ongoing discussions in media and communication studies.

  • Media & Communication Studies: An Overview
  • Media Archives: Discovering Japanese Media History
  • Interpreting the Past: Case Study and Textual Analysis
  • Media Representations: Approaches to Media Analysis
  • Understanding Audiences: Modalities of Media Pleasure
  • Idols and Affect in the Media Mix
  • Media Effects: Ethics, Regulation, and the Public Interest
  • Research Ethics for Media Studies
  • Media in Risk Society
  • Platforms and Social Media Analytics
  • Web Scraping and Sentiment Analysis
  • Social Media Analytics and Data Visualization
  • Data Visualization “One-Slide” Presentations
  • State of the Field: Writing the Literature Review Essay

ITASIA 201: Media and Communication Studies: Theory and Practice (Discussion/Theory)



This course explores the complex interplay between media, culture, and society in the context of the digital age. Through a critical examination of various theoretical perspectives and empirical studies, students will gain a deeper understanding of how media technologies shape our social, cultural, and political landscapes, and how these landscapes, in turn, influence the development and use of media. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to think critically about the intersection of media technologies with power, inequality, and social change. By the end of the course, students will have developed a comprehensive understanding of the key debates and perspectives in media and cultural studies, equipping them to analyze and navigate the complex media landscapes of the digital age.

  • Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies
  • Structure and Agency in Media Worlds
  • The Frankfurt School and Culture Industries
  • The Semiotics of Popular Culture
  • Audience Studies and Media Reception
  • Media and the Public Sphere
  • Reproduction and Authenticity
  • “New Media” and the Quantified Self
  • Big Data, Surveillance, and Privacy
  • Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning
  • Mediated Communication and Interpersonal Relations
  • Precarity and Affective Labor in the Gig Economy
  • Life and Death in the Anthropocene

ITASIA 221: Gender and Media Theory



This course is a graduate seminar on gender theory through select readings on the study of gender and representation in mass media, including film, television, manga, video games, anime and advertising. It will provide an understanding of current terminology and critical theories for analyzing gender and sexuality through a survey of its most important scholars and influential recent works. The course draws on theoretical works from the field of gender studies and includes additional readings specifically on gender and sexuality in the East Asian context. The course will provide instruction in analyzing, discussing, and thinking about gender and sexuality in the media, with the aim of producing either a literature review essay or an original research term paper that demonstrates mastery of gender analysis. 

  • Sex and Gender
  • Gender Socialization
  • Body Image and Body Dysmorphia
  • Gender Performativity
  • Social Media, Gender Identity, and Self-Esteem
  • Masculinity in Crisis
  • Motherhood, Work, and Family
  • Sexuality, Biopolitics, and Power
  • Censorship, Fantasy, and the Regulation of Desire
  • Pornography
  • Singlehood and Marriage
  • Intersectionality
  • Feminism and Gender Discontent

ITASIA 222: Social Media, Computer-Mediated Communication, and Mediated Publicness



    As we increasingly come to live our lives online in digital mediated spaces, the image of the self becomes more plastic, performative, and contingent. Anthony Giddens argues that the self in post-modernity becomes a reflexive project—an enterprise that we work and reflect on in order to fashion the story of who we are, how we came to be, and what we hope to become. Like celebrities in film and television, we have become the performers of our own lives for dispersed audiences across multiple media platforms. In the process, the distinction between our public and private lives becomes increasingly difficult to maintain, necessitating, like public relations, the careful management of our self-image. Our followers and friends become the audience in a staged performance that demands the constant cultivation of attention through self-disclosure, exhibitionism, and emotional labor. In digital spaces—with the intimacy of communication mediated by platforms, algorithms, and interfaces—how do we express feelings and immediacy, pursue social and relationship goals,  or understand politics and world events? What impact does living our lives online have on our identity, self-esteem, communication, and sense of community? In this assemblage of the human and non-human, how are the social affordances of technology shaping our posthuman futures?
  • Introductions (GRWM)
  • Technologies of Addiction (Pay to Win)
  • The Social Power of Algorithms (What I Eat in a Day)
  • The Media Interface (Don’t Forget to Hit Like)
  • Authenticity and the Performance of the (Ideal) Self (7 Days, 7 Looks)
  • Visual Communication on Social Media (#beautiful)
  • The Cruel Optimism of Life Lived Online (You Got This!)
  • Affective and Digital Labor (Feeling Burned Out)
  • Platform Studies (The Free Speech Wing of the Free Speech Party)
  • Disinformation and Fake News (Pants on Fire)
  • Manipulation, Mobilization, and Social Influence (The Internet Made Me Do It)
  • Digital Authoritarianism (Move Fast and Break Things)
  • Object-Oriented Ontology (Good Bot)
  • Disconnection (Taking a Break)


Doctoral Dissertation Direction

  1. Alexandra Hambleton (Associate Professor at Tsuda University), “Consuming Pleasures: Women, Sexuality, and Postfeminism in Post-Growth Japan,” 2017.
  2. Adrienne Johnson (Associate Professor at Shirayuri University), “Historicizing Visual Kei in Post-Bubble Japan: The Fluidity of Subculture in Consumer Society,” 2023.
  3. Jiaxi Hou, “Reassembling Class in Digital China: Inequality, Technology, and Agency from Below,” 2024.

Current Ph.D. Candidates

  • Yezi Yeo, ” Shooting Stars: The Embodied Military Spectacle in Contemporary South Korea and Japan”
  • Miranda Larsen, “‘A World Just For You’ : Affect, Bodies, and Place in Shin-Ōkubo”
  • Jia Yang, “Transnational Mobilities and Popular Culture: International Tourism and Migration among Chinese Fans of Japanese Male Idols”
  • Frédéric Seraphine, “Emergent Languages: Designing for Communication with Artificial Agents”
  • Junxiao Leng, “Hopeless Struggle? Social Movements for Gender: Violence, Trauma and Connection in Contemporary Japan”
  • Tommaso Barbetta, “The YouTube Game: Content Creation in the Digital Economy”
  • Xindi Qin, “Technology, Marriage and Identity: The Platformitization of Love and Romance in China”

Masters Thesis Direction

  1. Michelle H. S. Ho, “Japan’s Gendered Morning Television: Housewives, Social Identity, and ‘Wide-Show’ Infotainment,” 2012.
  2. Hui Chong Yong, “Fukushima on 24-Hour Television News: A Case Study of News as Narrative in Crisis Coverage,” 2012.
  3. Cathleen Paras, “Informal Media Economy and Remediation: Fansubbing of Japanese Dramas in the Philippines,” 2013.
  4. Kai Okudara, “Idol Chatter: A Cross-Platform Analysis of Celebrity Social Media Usage in Japan,” 2013.
  5. Elitza Koeva, “A Different Space: A Globalising Architectural Firm in Contemporary China,” 2013.
  6. Mizhelle Agcaoili, “Bickering Bitches: An Analysis of Representations of Japanese Femininity through Celebrity,” 2014.
  7. Fengming Ni, “Rotten Girls in Love: Funü, Fantasy, and Female Sexuality in Contemporary China,” 2014.
  8. Christopher St. Louis, “For Your Protection: State Surveillance and Narratives of Risk in Contemporary Japan,” 2014.
  9. Mario Rico Florendo, “Hoops and Dreams: Analysis of Kuwentong Gilas Narratives and National Identity in the Philippines,” 2015.
  10. Tiffany Lim, “All the Internet’s a Stage: Online Photo-Sharing as a Performance of Self-Esteem and Impression Management in the Filipino Cosplay Community,” 2015.
  11. Emma Winthrow, “Behind the Camera, In Front of the World: YouTube Vlogs and Messages of Japan to the West,” 2016.
  12. Xuguang Li, “The Next MOOC Through the Lens of Gamification: A Study of Chinese Users,” 2016.
  13. Heqi Qiu, “Audience Reception of Micro-Celebrities on Weibo: Urban Users’ Following Behavior of Micro-Celebritites and Its Influences on Their Buying Decisions,” 2016.
  14. Nicole Hasbum, “Social Media and the Tourist Experience,” 2017.
  15. Siyan Zhao, “Making Sense of Japanese Violence: Chinese Audience’s Reading of TV News Reports of the Sagamihara Stabbings,” 2017.
  16. Jiaxi Hou, “Chinese Participatory Culture on a Danmaku Website: Technology, Content, and Interactivity,” 2017.
  17. Liron Afriat, “Fight Like a Girl: Cosplay in the Work-Life Balance of Japanese Female Cosplayers,” 2018.
  18. Yue Yang, “From Phoenix to Dragon: Tsai Ing-wen’s Branded Femininity on Social Media,” 2019.
  19. Chencheng Qian, “Fascination or Discrimination: The ‘Occidental’ Accent in Japanese TV Commercials,” 2019.
  20. Harley Harrer, “Multicultural Future: An Ethnography of Gaijin Drag Queens in Tokyo,” 2020.
  21. Liisi Tagel, “’‘What If I Will Be Single Forever?’: Discourses of Female Singleness in Japanese Women’s Magazines,” 2020.
  22. Yechen Yu, “The Archive of Our Own: Between Platform and Infrastructure,” 2020.
  23. Andrew Z Le, “Does the Party Ever Stop? Rethinking Regulation and Resistance of Tokyo Nightclubs,” 2020.
  24. Chujun Zhao, “Only Fans Can Understand? Television in the Age of Social Media,” 2020.
  25. Jiani Liu, “Conflict and Camaraderie in Women-Only Space: Investigating Japanese Joshikai,” 2020.
  26. Sisi Gu, “The Contemporary “Happy Housewife Myth”: Japanese Housewife Ideal and Commercialized Domesticity on YouTube,” 2020.
  27. Xueqin Lu, “Neoliberal Feminism and Consumerism in Contemporary China: A Discourse Analysis of the ‘Straight Male’ on the Chinese Internet,” 2021.
  28. Sabah Merchant, “‘Do Your Best!’: Representations of Ganbaru in 21st-Century Sports Manga Franchises,” 2021.
  29. Callum Sarracino, “The Omegaverse: Canine Zoomorphism in Homoerotic Media,” 2021.
  30. Rongqiu Jin, “Socializing Through Music: Chinese Online Music Platforms in the Streaming Era,” 2021.
  31. Chan Gao, “Childhood Aesthetic Education in the Rural Vitalisation of China: Understanding “Place” in Xiuwu County, Henan Province,” 2022.
  32. Antonia Beatrice Dans Lee, “Weathering the Storm: Understanding the Process of Identity Negotiation Among Fans Following the Loss of a Fan Object,” 2022.
  33. Chenyu Zhao, “’Unruly’ Housewife YouTubers in Japan: Changing Representations of Gender, Domesticity, and Family Structure,” 2022.
  34. Li Yi, “Are ‘Doll Mothers’ Real Mothers? How Young Chinese Women Negotiate Their Identity as Fertile Women in Contemporary Chinese Society,” 2023.
  35. Allison Kathleen Lee, “Staging the Periphery: Revitalizing the Japanese Countryside Through Contents Tourism,” 2023.
  36. Pan Yuye,“’Shout into the Air’ Bots and the Proliferation of Carnivalesque Memetic Subculture on Chinese Social Media,” 2023.
  37. Yangfang Wang, “At the Expense of One’s Health: The Digital Labor of Self-Employed Chinese Female Influencers in Online Eating Shows,”  2024.
  38. Siyi Yang, “Dressing in JK Uniforms Online and Offline: How Chinese Female Consumers Negotiate Identity,” 2024.