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MeToo in Japan and South Korea: #WeToo, #WithYou

Author(s): Linda Hasunuma, Ki-young Shin

In: Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Vol 40, No 1, 2019, pp. 97-111

This article compares the impact of the #MeToo movement in South Korea and Japan. In South Korea, #MeToo inspired many women to go public with their accusations in numerous high-profile cases. Those accusations in turn inspired mass demonstrations and demands for legal reform. In South Korea, the movement also led to policy proposals and the revision of laws on sexual harassment and gender-based violence. In Japan, however, the movement has grown more slowly. Fewer women made public accusations, and if they did, they tended to remain anonymous. The movement has been limited to a small number of cases leading to a professional network to support women journalists. The authors argue that the different outcomes can be explained by the strength of women’s engagement in civil society and the nature of the media coverage in each case. In both countries, however, women continue to face a powerful backlash that includes victim-blaming and social and professional sanctions for speaking up.