Lauri Paltemaa

Centre for East Asian Studies CEAS

The Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) is the only academic research centre in Finland that focuses on contemporary East Asia from the perspective of social sciences in both research and teaching. CEAS was established in 2006 but the minor programme in East Asian Studies has been offered since 1998.

CEAS has research and teaching expertise especially in politics, sociology and contemporary history of the region with a focus on China, South Korea, North Korea and Japan. CEAS offers three different study programmes (minor, master's and doctoral level) and also coordinates the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies (Asianet).

In 2021 we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku with webinars, podcasts, seminars and events. Please follow our website and social media channels for more information!


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News and Events

Applying for Master's Degree Programme in East Asian Studies

The application period for the 2021-2023 EAST programme will start on 7 January 2021 at 08:00 and end on 20 January 2021 at 15:00hrs (Finnish time). Find more information about the application process here. Apply via the Studyinfo-Portal.

For news and updates on the EAST programme period please follow us on our social media channels.

We look forward to receiving your application!

NEW: The Nordic Asia Podcast

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a podcast series co-hosted by Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen and Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) at the University of Turku. Experts join us in every episode to share their insights about timely topics within Asian Studies.

Check out the latest episodes of the Nordic Asia Podcast here:

CEAS podcast spotify       CEAS_NAPodcast_Apple


Statement by AKSE and EAJS on Racism in COVID19 Times

Concerned East Asian Studies Scholars on Racism in COVID19 Times :

Statement adopted by the councils of AKSE (Association for Korean Studies in Europe) and EAJS (European Association for Japanese Studies):

"Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, Europe has witnessed a growing number of incidences of anti-Asian violence. East Asians are being physically assaulted on European streets, yelled at, subjected to verbal attacks and to a variety of discriminatory treatments including abrupt cancellation of rental contracts and denial of essential services, medical treatment included.

In Germany, the South Korean Embassy had to warn its citizens of the growing danger of anti-Korean racist violence and urge caution outside. Recently, a South Korean student couple in Berlin, having been assaulted, were told by the police that they should not ‘defame’ the perpetrators by referring to them as‘racists.’ In Italy, there are reports of vandalized Chinese shops in the cities of Brescia and Varese. In Britain, in a high-profile incident, a Thai tax consultant was physically assaulted on a street in broad daylight by a gang of ruffians yelling ‘Corona!’ at him. Every new day brings fresh news about violent incidents, verbal assaults, and victims traumatized by the experience of violent racial exclusion. The victims come from a variety of national and ethnic backgrounds comprising most East, South-East, and South Asian societies.

Of course, the anti-Asian violence of the recent months did not emerge out of the blue. For most non -Europeans living in Europe, quotidian lives involve regular battles with an array of problems ranging from denigrating stereotypes and social exclusion to outright verbal or physical violence. It was against this backdrop that COVID19 pandemic and the responses of the European decision- and opinion-makers to it further exacerbated the situation, paving a way towards making Europe’s resident Asians into one more object of xenophobic baiting.

We know very well that the root causes of racism are complex, and the same applies to the anti-Asian racist wave which the current pandemic triggered. We are also aware that patterns of racist exclusion are at work in other continents as well, also in East Asia – the virus is always conceived of as the virus of other ethno-national groups, not of ours. Yet, there is an identifiable connection between the explicitly or implicitly xenophobic discourses produced and disseminated by the politicians and mass media, and the rise in violent xenophobia on the streets. While hardly any country in the world can escape blame for making mistakes while countering the COVID19 pandemic, singling out a particular East Asian country as supposedly ‘fully responsible’ for the current disaster is a recipe for social disasters. The racist bullies on the streets do not distinguish between the governments and the people whom they govern, nor do they distinguish between the migrants from different Asian societies. While media’s duty to critically analyse the COVID19 response by any government, domestic and foreign, is to be fully acknowledged, responsible journalists should be able to draw a line between legitimate critique and xenophobic agitation. Regrettably, in these critical hours, European media repeatedly fail in this crucial task. Referring to COVID19 as ‘Chinese virus’ serves as excitement to xenophobia. Routine references to the supposed ‘authoritarianism’ of Asian societies (despite the fact that a number of them, typically South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, are full-fledged parliamentary democracies) in European media mislead the public while holding alive the prejudices and paternalistic attitudes dating back to the age of imperialism and colonialism.

We, representatives of Europe-based experts in East Asian Studies, urge Europe’s decision- and opinion-makers, politicians, journalists and educators included, to be aware about their duty to ensure personal safety and equal treatment to all minorities, including the minorities of Asian origins, inhabiting the European continent, and refrain from any utterances or statements which may serve, explicitly or implicitly, as incitement to racial hatred and xenophobic violence. Furthermore, we urge them to spare no efforts in educating our European co-citizens about the importance of minorities’ rights and unprejudiced perceptions of diverse ethno-national groups, thus not conniving at but developing an antidote to the rampant racial exclusion and violence we are unfortunately witnessing now."


25th May 2020

Second revised edition of "Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi" is now out!

The second revised edition of "Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi - - Johdatus Itä-Aasian yhteiskuntiin", the Finnish texbook for studying contemporary East Asia, is now out!

You can purchase the electronic and printed version of the book from Utu-shop.


LOHIKÄÄRME, TIIKERI JA KRYSANTEEMI – Johdatus Itä-Aasian yhteiskuntiin

Kirjoittajat: Silja Keva (toim.), Annamari Konttinen, Kristian Kurki, Lauri Paltemaa ja Sungju Park-Kang

Lohikäärme, tiikeri ja krysanteemi tarjoaa johdatuksen Kiinan, Etelä-Korean, Pohjois-Korean ja Japanin historiaan ja näiden tämän hetken polttavimpiin yhteiskunnallisiin ja taloudellisiin haasteisiin. Kirjassa käsitellään mm. nopeasti ikääntyvän väestön vaikutuksia Japaniin, Kiinan politiikan ja hallinnon erityispiirteitä, ja Koreoiden tilannetta. Lisäksi kirjassa valotetaan tämän yhden maailman dynaamisimman alueen keskinäisen yhteistyön ongelmakohtia, joita historialliset jännitteet edelleen vaikeuttavat.

Kirja sopii kaikille kansainvälisistä aiheista ja Itä-Aasiasta kiinnostuneille ja Itä-Aasian opintoja aloittaville opiskelijoille.

Kirjoittajat toimivat tutkijoina ja opettajina Turun yliopiston Itä-Aasian tutkimus- ja koulutuskeskuksessa, joka on Suomen ainoa Itä-Aasian nyky-yhteiskuntia yhteiskuntatieteellisestä näkökulmasta tutkiva akateeminen yksikkö.

Kirja on jo myynnissä e-kirjana Turun yliopiston UTUShopissa 10€ hintaan.

UTUShopissa on myös myynnissä painettu teos 15€ hintaan.

2021 Nordic Korean Studies Days go Online

The 2021 Nordic Korean Studies Days start online on 8 February! 

The 2021 NKSD offer a wide range of exciting topics, especially to those students who are interested in multidisciplinary Korean Studies  

#CEAS15: ZOOM talk with Lukáš Laš and Simon Wellisch, 21 January 2021

21.01.2021 (Thursday), 12:00-14:00 EET

Lukáš Laš (University of Ostrava, Czechia) and Simon Wellisch (University of Münster, Germany): “Japanese Media on Territorial Disputes and Political Geography of East Asia”

Abstract: The guest lecture is devoted to Japan’s territorial disputes in East Asia based on an article published in ‘Asian Geographer’ in 2020. We will introduce general issues of political geography in East Asia, then compare all Japanese territorial disputes with neighbouring states and connect the findings to broader international phenomena, meanings and repercussions. In the first part, we will introduce our research design and how we approached deconstructing selected media discourses on Japan’s territorial disputes, namely in The Asahi Shimbun, The Japan News and The Japan Times, covering articles from 2002 to 2018. We conducted a mixture of content and discourse analysis with the lexicostatistical tool AntConc in the general framework of critical geopolitics. The outcomes illustrate that nationalist geopolitical imaginations are popular among all researched newspapers with strong dominance of solely Japanese toponyms. On top of that, we will explore other problems - the continental shelf expansion in Japan's and South Korea’s naming dispute over the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

To receive a Zoom link by email prior to the event, please contact Kamila Szczepanska ( We hope to see you there!



#CEAS15 ZOOM talk with Kamila Szczepanska and Anna Caspari: “Beyond the Trappings of State Animosities: Sino-Japanese Civil Society Cooperation in the 21st Century”, 28.1.2021

Kamila Szczepanska (CEAS, University of Turku, Finland) and Anna Caspari (POA, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany): “Beyond the Trappings of State Animosities: Sino-Japanese Civil Society Cooperation in the 21st Century”

28.01.2021 (Thursday) 11:00-13:00 CET/12:00-14:00 EET

Abstract: Whereas the official relationship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China has always been marked by tensions in multiple fields, in the background of high-level politics the contacts and exchanges between civil society actors have grown steadily. This presentation aims to illuminate further the matter of collaboration between civil society actors from mainland China and Japan, with a special focus on cooperation between civil society organisations (CSOs) and the obstacles they encounter when attempting to pursue joint initiatives. In doing so we utilise perspectives and concepts from Social Movement Theories focusing on political opportunity structure and resources to analyse the performance of civil society actors and their collaborative initiatives among each other. The presentation first explores the nature and characteristics of cooperation between Chinese and Japanese civil society actors by analysing greening and anti-desertification initiatives conducted by Japanese CSOs in mainland China. We take a special note of the extent to which Chinese CSOs, either officially sanctioned (i.e. including government-organised NGOs or GONGOs), or grassroots actors without a proper legal status, were involved in greening projects pursued by Japanese organisations. And second, drawing on evidence from joint symposiums devoted to fostering Sino-Japanese CSO cooperation organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and its Chinese partners, we elucidate the challenges inherent in facilitating closer cooperation between Japanese and Chinese CSOs. Here, we put emphasis on investigating the significance of inhospitable and opaque legal frameworks for CSOs in China, and the relative scarcity of resources in Japanese CSOs, as a hindrance for establishing collaborative relationships.

Kamila Szczepanska is a University Lecturer at the Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Turku, Finland. She holds a joint PhD from the University of Sheffield (UK) and the Tohoku University (Japan). Her research interests include Japanese and East Asian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in regional/global governance, civil society and social movements in Japan, and the ‘history issue’ in East Asia.

Anna Caspari studied East Asian Economics and Politics at Ruhr University Bochum and completed her Master’s degree in 2015. Since 2016 she has been a lecturer in the Department of East Asian Politics at Bochum’s Faculty of East Asian Studies while working on her dissertation on civil society in China. Her research interests include Chinese and Taiwanese politics with a focus on civil society and social movements.

To receive a Zoom link by email prior to the event, please contact Kamila Szczepanska ( We hope to see you there!

Intensive Course: China’s New Rule or No Rules for World Order , 23 Nov

Course provider: Docent Markku Salomaa

Content: The course deals with current hot issues in China and China's foreign relations.and consist of seven 45 minutes lectures on the following topics:

Lecture 1: Chinese “Kung Flu” Virus Wakes Up Nation-States (09:15 – 10:00)
Lecture 2: Trade War Risk leads to a Hegemony War Danger (10:15 – 11:00)
Lecture 3: Chinese Human Rights Problems in Xinjiang (11:15-12:00)

Lunch Break (12:00 – 12:45)

Lecture 4: China’s Unity Crisis with Hong Kong and Taiwan (12:45 – 13:30)
Lecture 5: “King Kong” Geopolitics in the South China Sea (13:45 – 14:30)
Lecture 6: Arms Race in Asia in the Perspective of Nationalism (14:45 – 15:30)
Lecture 7: Space War strategy in China’s space program? (15:45 – 16:30)

Join the course by listening all or some of the lectures and doing the course assignment (essay).

Detailed course description can be found at Moodle:

WEBINAR for admitted EAST students, 24 April 2020

CEAS hosts a WEBINAR for accepted EAST students on Friday, 24 April at 3pm. Invitations have already been sent out to our prospective students. 

Congratulations to our new students! We can't wait to welcome you all here in Turku!

2020 St Petersburg University Int'l Summer School Modern & Classical Studies of Korea APPLY NOW!

Saint Petersburg University (SPbU), our partner university, organizes an international summer school on modern and classical Korean studies again this year. The school is being organized by the Faculty of Asian and African Studies, the Faculty of Sociology and the Faculty of International Relations with the support of the Academy of Korean Studies.

Dates : 7-9 September 2020

Venue: St Petersburg State University, Faculty of Sociology, St Petersburg

Eligibility : students (BA, MA, PhD levels) majoring in Korean Studies or learning Korean at one of SPbU's partner universities

Working language : English

Major topics : history, language and literature, socio-cultural aspects of the development of Korean society and interaction of Korea and Russia, Korea in the system of international relations and Korea related collections in museums of St Petersburg.

Format: lectures, seminars, workshops, excursions and student activities

Credits : 2-5

Study methods : attendance in all classes, active classroom participation, readings and written assignments.

Terms & conditions : successful applicants will be provided with accommodation (4 nights, 6-9 Sept), round-trip economy class tickets (arrival: 6 Sept, departure : 10 Sept), meals during event, visa support.

How to apply : send (1) short motivation letter, (2) copy of study transcripts, (3) CV and (4) copy of passport (required for invitation letter) by email to Sabine Burghart until 30 March 2020. 

Academy of Finland Research Project "Security in China"

We are delighted about the Academy of Finland's decision to fund the Security in China research consortium led by CEAS Professor Lauri Paltemaa and Professor Juha A. Vuori form the University of Tampere. More information on the project webpages:
Security in China (in English)
Turvallisuus Kiinassa (in Finnish)