Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


International Relations


Eric Han

Committee Members

Hiroshi Kitamura

T.J. Cheng


The relationship between the Republic of Korea (hereafter, South Korea) and Japan have consistently confounded the logic of traditional International Relations (IR) theories. Despite strong economic and security incentives for cooperation, South Korea and Japan have been fraught by seemingly insurmountable historical issues. Though South Korea and Japan’s diplomatic history since normalizing relations has consistently oscillated between good times and bad, there was a sharp escalation of tensions in the late 2010s that culminated in the 2019 trade war between the two countries. While the impact of historical disputes on this bilateral relationship has been widely explored in the literature, this explanation alone falls short of helping us understand the recent deterioration of ties to this degree.

Given that both South Korea and Japan are among the most technologically advanced and internet-connected countries in the world, this thesis will examine the rising impact of social media on contemporary politics to understand the rise of antipathy in the relations between these two states. In particular, this thesis will examine how the nature of popular social media platforms contribute to the promotion of cybernationalism, whether through populist discourse or through the amplification of far-right nationalist groups, that in turn incites reactions from the opposite site and fuels conflict.

On-Campus Access Only