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).

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News and Events

Applying for Master's Degree Programme in East Asian Studies

The application period for the 2020-2022 EAST programme has closed. The next application round will open in January 2021.

For news and updates on the EAST programme and the 2021 application period please follow us on our social media channels.

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, 25 May 2020

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

ZOOM talk with Liora Sarfati "Landscapes of Mass Cooperation in Seoul: from the Sewŏl Disaster to the Corona crisis", 12 May 2020

ZOOM-talk by Liora Sarfati (Tel Aviv University) on "Landscapes of Mass Cooperation in Seoul: from the Sewŏl Disaster to the Corona crisis". 

Time: May 12, 2020 10:00 AM (Finnish time)

Special thanks to Barbara Wall / Korean Studies of the University of Copenhagen for organising the virtual event. 

ZOOM details have been sent out via the emailing list. 

ZOOM talk with Owen Miller, "North Korea's 'miracle' economy after the Korean War", 30 April 2020

30 April 2020, 10:15-11:45 (Finland time). A learning diary on the event can be included in the CEAS Lecture Passport. For more details contact CEAS Sabine Burghart

"North Korea's 'miracle' economy after the Korean War", Owen Miller, organized by Korean Studies (Barbara Wall) of the University of Copenhagen.

This talk will look at the decade after the end of the Korean War in 1953, when North Korea was recovering from the devastation of war and attempting to build a modern, heavy-industry-centred economy. This period is usually understood as one of rapid economic growth, industrialisation and urbanisation, but it was also inevitably a period of huge social change in the northern half of the Korean peninsula. During the period 1953-1967 North Korea is thought to have achieved average annual growth of 16.6%, leading some, such as the British economist Joan Robinson, to write of a ‘Korean Miracle’. The rapid social change of the postwar period was exemplified most obviously by the explosion of the working class, as approximately two million people (out of a population of 10 million) moved from the countryside to the cities, taking the urbanisation rate from 17.7% to 40% in only seven years.

In this lecture I will explain the main factors that led to North Korea’s rapid growth in the 1950s and early 1960s, including aid from fraternal countries, economic planning, agricultural collectivisation, and large-scale labour mobilisation. I will also look at some of the major social changes that came to North Korea in the 1950s with the rapid proletarianisation of the population, examining such questions as how new industrial workers were made and remade and how gender roles changed as a result. Part of the lecture will illustrate some of these issues by using my own recent research on class formation at the Hŭngnam Fertiliser Complex, one of North Korea’s most important industrial sites since the colonial period and a key focus of the economic reconstruction programme in the 1950s. In the context of this workplace I will examine how the state and factory authorities attempted to impose discipline on new workers and how productivity campaigns were used to instil new attitudes to life and work under harsh working conditions.

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!

ZOOM talk with CedarBough T. Saeji, "Making Icons: The Rise of the K-pop Adjacent Industries", 14 April 2020

14 April 2020, 14:15-15:00 (Finland time). A learning diary on the event can be included in the CEAS Lecture Passport. For more details contact CEAS Sabine Burghart

"Making Icons: The Rise of the K-pop Adjacent Industries", CedarBough T. Saeji, organized by Korean Studies (Barbara Wall) of the University of Copenhagen.

Korean popular music (K-pop) is a musical industry centered on artistic products of idol stars. In tandem with K-pop's success, but beyond those leading entertainment agencies and singers, an entire industry that parasitically feeds off K-pop while also symbiotically amplifying it has emerged. The K-pop industry is now supporting and supported by a multitude of lime-light eschewing and lime-light seeking people who are making a living through various K-pop dependent activities—a secondary yet autonomous industry. New participants in this adjacent/dependent industry support K-pop fandom, and may become secondary stars or in rare cases, penetrate the ranks of the idols. The very publicness of their activities gestures not at a subculture but at a side culture, generating a fascinating and contradictory transcultural practice and dialogue. In this talk I explore the specific issue of the K-pop adjacent industries that are dependent on the same sources of finances—fans and the Korean government—that the industry relies on. I conducted in-person and online interviews with performers, educators, and artists; (1) performers whose desire to be noticed collectively encourages creativity—a weakness of the hegemonic K-pop insiders, (2) educators that deepen fan engagement with K-pop through dance classes, tourism experiences, and educational programs, and (3) artists who produce new unofficial merchandise. In this talk I argue that these industries have become an integral part of interacting with and understanding K-pop today, introducing and enabling personal encounters with K-pop and Korea, and contributing to the growth of the industry.


In these extraordinary times, we want to create new synergies and opportunities for our students. It has never been easier to meet CedarBough T. Saeji, one of the leading international experts on K-pop, traditional music and performance, who is based in the US. 

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. 

Research Seminar, 19 Mar, PhD candidate Shingo Masunaga

12-14hrs, Pub150

Visiting lecture: Whither Japan? Assessing Abe’s Legacy, Jeff Kingston, 11 Mar 2020

11 March (Wed), 10-12hrs, Pub4

Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, is author of Japan (Polity, 2019) and Nationalism in Asia: A History Since 1945 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) and editor of Press Freedom in Japan (2017), Asian Nationalism Reconsidered (Routledge, 2015); Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (Routledge, 2014) and Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan’s 3/11 (Routledge, 2012). He writes regularly for several international dailies.

Research Seminar, 5 Mar: Researching South Korea's global Saemaul Undong programme in Tanzania

Presentation by Sabine Burghart on 5 March 2020 (Thu), 12-14hrs, Pub409

South Korea’s development from an aid recipient to the world’s 12th largest economy and an OECD-DAC member has drawn interest from developing countries, including Tanzania. The South Korean government’s emphasis on a shared development experience, reciprocal gains and non-hierarchical partnerships is largely in line with the constructive discourse of South-South development cooperation. In official aid documents, South Korea emphasises a request-based approach that, at least in theory, guides its cooperation with aid recipients. Notions of self-reliance and self-help efforts imply a certain respect for independent, not pre-determined development choices in partner countries. By emphasizing a new way of providing foreign aid South Korea’s official ODA rhetoric attempts to distinguish itself from the “mainstream”, i.e. traditional (Western) donors.

Japanese speech event for UTU students, 28 Feb 2020

CEAS invites all UTU Japanese language students to participate in the 2020 Japanese Speech event on 28 February.

This event will be held for students of Turku University (including exchange students) at all levels from beginners to (upper-)intermediate and advanced, and is a great opportunity of showing your achievements in Japanese language learning and listening to your fellow students' speeches. The deadline for registration is 7 February (24:00hrs).

Please find more details here.

Research Seminar, 13 Feb: Multiculturalism in a "Homogeneous" Society: Going Beyond Policies

Presentation by Yoko Demelius on 13 Feb 2020, 12-14hrs, Pub368

Research Seminar, 6 Feb: Coping with Peripheralization in the Sea of Japan Rim: Geopolitical Economy of Anticipation

Presentation by Outi Luova on 6 Feb 2020, 12-14hrs, Pub368

Asian Studies Days, "Science policies in Asia", 26 November 2019

Science and University Policies in Asia: How Asian countries are building state capacity and sustainability through science and education


Register now.


This year, the goal of the Asian Studies Days is to discuss science and university policies in Asian countries. In addition to recent trends, the topics deal with the prospects and challenges in the implementation of those policies, both in domestic and global context. This event will deepen our understanding of the specific features in the academic environment in Asia: what should we be aware of when pursuing cooperation with Asian actors. The discussions will help to develop realistic and sustainable cooperation with Asian countries in the field of science, education and technology.


The theme is topical in several ways. China’s emergence as a science power has raised much attention during the recent years, both within academia and in media. At the same time, many other Asian front-runners of science and technology have been left in shadow: countries such as Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have significant science capacities. Also the developing countries in Asia are actively building academic infrastructure. The region has own structures and patterns in science cooperation, supported by ASEAN and regional science powers. In many Asian countries, the role of the government in the steering of academic research and education is getting stronger.


The Finnish University Network for Asian Studies has organized Asian Studies Days annually since 2010. The event provides a national platform for discussions and networking in Asian studies. It brings together a wide community of people from the academia, business, public administration and civil society with a shared interest in Asia.



26 November 2019, 12:00-17.00

Welcoming words

Introduction to the theme of the event
Outi Luova, Director of the University Network for Asian Studies

Keynote presentations, commentaries and discussion
Christian Göbel, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna

Ma. Assunta Caoile-Cuyegkeng, Professor, Director of ASEAN University Network (AUN) Thematic Network on Ecological Education and Culture (AUN-EEC), Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines

Coffee break

Greeting words
Jukka Kola, Rector of the University of Turku

Panel discussion ”Emerging trends and hot topics in Asian science field”
Confirmed participants:
Anna Korpi, Councellor, Education and Science, Embassy of Finland in Singapore
Mari-Anna Suurmunne, Councellor, Education and Science, Embassy of Finland in Beijing
Mika Tirronen, Councellor, Education and Science, Embassy of Finland in New Delhi
Jarkko Mutanen, PhD, coordinator of the FinCEAL Plus BRIDGES Asia

Korean Speech Contest 한국어 말하기 대회, 15 November 2019

The Centre for East Asian Studies of the University of Turku invites all students of the Korean language to participate in the 2019 Korean Speech Contest.

The contest is open for all levels from beginners (less than 1 year of Korean studies) to intermediate and advanced, and will be evaluated according to the levels. This is a great chance to upgrade your Korean skills – don’t miss it! *^^* And there will be Korean food party for all participants and the audience after the contest, so welcome everyone!


Date: Friday, 15 November 2019, 13-16 pm

Place: Lecture Hall Edu2, Educarium, Assistentinkatu 7, 20500 Turku

Contact person: Antonio Santiago (


Registration deadline: Thursday, 31 October by midnight


Registration form:

As not only the length of studies but also previous exposure to Korean culture has a great impact on one’s language skills, participants will be assigned a level based on their answers to the questions in the registration form. Should you be assigned to a group you do not believe you belong to, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Prizes: Pressure rice cookers, gift coupons to a K-pop store, Korean food and more. All participants will receive a prize!


Contest categories:

1) Beginner (3-5 minute speech, less that 1 year of studies)

2) Intermediate and advanced (3-5 minute speech)

Visual aids such as Powerpoint may be used


Eligibility and selection of contestants:

• All students of Korean at all levels

• Korean nationals and Korean native speakers are not eligible

• Up to 12 contestants are accepted to both contest categories. In case the total number of contest applicants exceeds 24, contestants will be selected in the order applications were received.

• The selected participants will be notified of the selection result by 5 November, 2019


Topic and title of speech:

• You can choose your topic freely

Choose your own speech title to fit your topic, for example: 나에게 백만 유로가 있다면

• You need to memorize your speech, but you can use notes as prompts

• You can also use a computer and a projector as well as small visual aids and illustrations


Evaluation Criteria in the Competition:

Speeches are assessed by a jury panel according to the following criteria:

1. Content and organization

2. Grammar and vocabulary

3. Pronunciation and fluency

4. The manner of presentation and engagement with the audience


Other support

•  Travel expenses will be reimbursed for participating contestants outside of Turku up to 50 euros.


Visiting lecture: Human dimension of Russian-Japanese dialogue in 1990's, 1 Nov 2019

Join the lecture by visiting scholar from St Petersburg University, Dr. Maria Malashevskaya on 1 November 2019 (Fri), 12-14 in Pub150. Her presentation is titled "Human dimension of Russian-Japanese dialogue in 1990's".

Visiting lecture: Trends in Asian Politics: Populism, Electoralism and Authoritarianism, 31 October 2019

The new director of the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS), Duncan McCargo, will deliver a public lecture “Trends in Asian Politics: Populism, Electoralism and Authoritarianism”.

Date: 31 October 2019 (Thu), 13.15-14:00

Venue: Pub4

This talk examines recent developments in the region, including the rise of Duterte in the Philippines, the 2018 electoral upset in Malaysia, Cambodia’s controversial banning of the political opposition, and Thailand’s controversial 2019 elections. It discusses the interplay between political protests, election campaigns and media events in the era of social media when the rules of the political game are being torn up and rewritten around the globe.

Duncan McCargo is Director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, working mainly on the politics of Southeast Asia. He has lived, researched or taught in Cambodia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. His books include the best-selling The Thaksinization of Thailand (co-authored, NIAS 2005), and the award-winning Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand (Cornell 2008). His Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand will be published by Cornell at the end of 2019. During his time at Columbia University, he co-founded the Columbia-based New York Southeast Asia Network (

Intensive Course: Regional Security in East and Southeast Asia, 11 October 2019

This 2cr course is provided by Docent Markku Salomaa and focuses on China's position in world politics in 2019 (MPAS2172). 

Time: 10:15-16:30 (including lunch break)

Room: Pub150

China's Arctic Policy: Actors and Mechanisms, 26 September 2019

The visiting lecture by Dr. Mariia Kobzeva, School of International Relations of the Saint-Petersburg State University, is titled "China's Arctic Policy: Actors and Mechanisms" discusses China's interest and activities in the Arctic. Dr. Kobzeva also gives a Russian perspective on the matter.

26 September 2019 (Thu): 12 - 14hrs, Pub399.

This is a CEAS lecture passport event.

Seminar "Peace Process and the Future of the Korean Peninsula", 5 September 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in entered his third year in office in May this year. Under his administration inter-Korean relations have improved and the South Korean government played a crucial role in brokering the US-DPRK summits. However, the dynamics of the peace process have slowed down. This seminar will address current issues, challenges and prospects of formally ending the Korean War and establishing a peace regime on the Korean peninsula.

CEAS students participating in the event will receive two entries in their lecture passports.

Date: 5 September 2019 (Thu), 10:30-13:00hrs

Venue: Publicum, PUB5, Assistentinkatu 7, 20500 Turku


10:30        Welcoming Remarks

               Professor Dr. Lauri Paltemaa, Director of the Centre for East Asian Studies

10:40        Opening Remarks

                  H.E. Ambassador Chang Jae-bok, Ambassador for Public Diplomacy, Republic of Korea

10:50        The Korean Peace Process 2018-19

                  Dr. Eunsook Chung, Senior Fellow, Department of Security Studies, The Sejong Institute

11:15        Korea Under the North Star: Towards and Beyond Peace

                  Dr. Sungju Park-Kang, Docent, Centre for East Asian Studies, UTU

--------------------------- Coffee Break --------------------------------

11:50        Peacebuilding as the Brand of Gangwon Province

                  Dr. Outi Luova, Docent and University Lecturer, Centre for East Asian Studies, UTU

12:10        Integration of North Koreans and Peace in the Korean Society

                  Suik Jung, PhD candidate, CEAS, UTU

12:30       Q&A and Discussion

12:50       Concluding remarks

                 H.E. Ambassador Jang Keun Ho, Chargé d'Affaires Pro Tempore of the Embassy of the 

                 Republic of Korea to Finland

13:00       End of seminar


Contact: sabine.burghart [a]

Finland and Japan in the Changing World, 27 August 2019

The year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan. The seminar Finland and Japan in the Changing World celebrates the occasion by bringing together specialists from different fields to discuss both the shared historical experiences and the future challenges that the two different yet in many ways similar countries encounter in the contemporary world. The seminar is organized by the Centre for East Asian Studies and the Unit of Contemporary History, University of Turku, and supported by the Toshiba International Foundation and the Hokkaido University Europe Office in Helsinki.

Read more about the seminar here.

Studia generalia lecture: ”Suomen ja Japanin 100 vuotta" (in Finnish), 26 August 2019

CEAS together with the unit of Contemporary History (University of Turku) and the Arctic Research Center (Hokkaido University) are organizing a studia generalia lecture at the Turku City Library on Monday 26th August 2019 at 18.00–19.30 in the theme of 100 years of Finnish-Japanese diplomatic relations. The lecture is free of charge and open to the public. Welcome all! Language of the lecture is Finnish. Read more about the event here.

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)

NAJS 2019: Naming an Era, 23-24 May 2019 

The Fifteenth Conference of the Nordic Association for the Study of Contemporary Japanese Society (NAJS), 23-24 May, 2019, CEAS, Turku, Finland.

Read more about NAJS 2019 .

Nordic Korean Studies Days in Copenhagen, 11-15 March 2019

The Nordic Korean Studies Days (NKSD) is a five-day intensive Korean Studies course with lectures on topics including (pseudo)historiography, ghost stories, changing dynamics in family as well as politics in South and North Korea. It aims at bringing together students with an interest in Korea and teaching faculty of Nordic universities. The NKSD is generously supported by the Korea Foundation. Participation in the course, together with the required readings and a final presentation and a written research essay will be equivalent to 5 credits.

Students from outside of Denmark will be hosted by students of Copenhagen University ( and transportation to Copenhagen will be provided.

How to apply: 

Deadline for applications: 10 January 2019

Send a motivation letter (Word file) by e-mail to Sabine Burghart (sabine.burghart[at] and include the following:

1) Year of study, experience of Korean and other Asian Studies courses; experience of Korean language.
2) A statement detailing your motivation for participation (300-500 words) and potential ideas for a research topic, ideally your Master's thesis topic.