The Online Ecosystem of the Japanese Far Right: Platforms, Actors, Organizations

This series of research articles deals with the online activities of the Japanese Far-Right. We understand the far-right online ecosystem as not only an explicit network of actors across different digital platforms, but also as the implicit connectivities that exist based on shared nativist/racist, anti-feminist, and anti-establishment/illiberal discourses, including conspiracy narratives, disinformation, or even fantasies to overthrow the government. From this perspective, the Far-Right includes both well-networked core figures, organizations, and notorious social media channels (such as Bunka Channel Sakura or Toranomon News), as well as actors on the fringes of a much larger online ecosystem. To put it differently, instead of being a network of a few influential figures, the Far-Right has turned into an ever-changing and adaptable ecosystem of multitudinous actors in the digital age. This is what makes the Far-Right today not only so dangerous for the stability of the democratic system, but also almost incomprehensible for researchers. We are aware that capturing this ecosystem in its entirety is an impossible task. However, by analyzing a selection of key actors, and applying qualitative and quantitative mixed-methods approaches, we hope to reveal latent networking trends and recurring common narratives standing pars pro toto for the core activities and views of the online ecosystem of the Far-Right.

Fabian Schäfer, Series Guest Editor