Agenda: Demographic Challenges in East Asia Symposium

The Center for Asia Pacific Studies invites you to join us for our spring virtual symposium, “Demographic Challenges in East Asia” (Keynote: Wednesday evening, Panels: Thursday afternoon).

As life expectancy has risen, Asians have gotten older and now are living longer. At the same time, the number of marriages has steadily decreased, women are having fewer children and fertility is declining. East Asian nations are now facing the challenges of shrinking populations and workforces and aging populations with fewer young people to support them. What are the key factors driving Asia’s demographic challenges? What are the consequences of these challenges and how have Asian nations and their citizens responded? What can we learn from their attempts and experiences? What pathways and policies have worked historically and how might they be applied to the current situation today? Join us for one or more of these important presentations designed to promote academic discussion on issues related to the demographic challenges facing East Asian nations both historically and today.

April 10-11, 2024
Online, Via Zoom Webinar



Leta Hong Fincher

5:00 – 6:15 pm: Keynote Address

Young Chinese Women Defying Marriage and Childrearing Pressure
Leta Hong Fincher, author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China” and Research Associate, Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute

The USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies welcomes Leta Hong Fincher to deliver the keynote lecture for its online symposium, “Demographic Challenges in East Asia.” In 2022, China’s population shrank for the first time since the famine in the early 1960s under Mao Zedong’s catastrophic “Great Leap Forward” campaign. This seismic demographic transformation was preceded by plummeting birth rates in recent years, as women in China have increasingly turned their backs on marriage and children. Through their individual choices, these women are posing a complicated problem for the Chinese Communist Party. Leta Hong Fincher looks at what lies ahead for women’s rights in China as the government carries out a pro-natalist, pro-marriage propaganda campaign and a harsh crackdown on feminist activism.

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photo of asian elderly couple, asian mom and baby, and a bride and groom holding each other

2:00 – 4:00 pm: SESSION 1
Discussant: Miriam Gross, Associate Professor, History And International & Area Studies, The University of Oklahoma

Mina Marković

Historical Perspectives on Japan’s Modern “Population Problem”: Population as an Element of “National Power”
Mina Marković, PhD candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Cambridge

Fumiya Uchikoshi

Trends and Socioeconomic Differences in the Link Between Marital and Fertility Desires: Evidence from Japan
Fumiya Uchikoshi, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology and Office of Population Research, Princeton University

Feng Wang

Population Decline in East Asia: What Can be Done and Should We be Worried?
Feng Wang, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine


4:30 – 6:30 pm: SESSION 2
Discussant: Chen, Yu-Hua, Assistant Professor, Global Studies Program, Akita International University

Sunhye Kim

From Population Control to Reproductive Rights: Feminist Perspectives on Low Fertility Rates in South Korea
Sunhye Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, Ewha Womans University

Kai-Yu Chiu

Population Ageing in Taiwan: Challenges and Opportunities with Evidence from TLSA Surveys
Kai-Yu Chiu, PhD candidate, Institute for Sociology, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Elizabeth LaCouture

Controlling Women’s Bodies and Controlling the Population in China, Korea, and Taiwan
Elizabeth LaCouture, Associate Professor, Gender Studies and History, University of Hong Kong

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