The international critical psychology movement has been provoking changes in the psychological world since the turn of the 21st Century. Although critical psychology is not as strong in East Asia as in the UK, Northern Europe, South Africa, Canada or Latin America, critical psychologists are still doing important work in East Asia. The main aim of the 2020 Critical Psychology Conference in East Asia is to facilitate links between critical psychologists in East Asia with each other and with critical psychologists from other parts of the globe.
So-called ‘modern psychology’ has long history in East Asia. Western psychology was introduced into Japan from the late 19th Century, soon after Japan emerged from its period of isolation and set about building a modern state following the models of Western powers. Psychology was institutionalized as a new discipline in several Japanese universities by the early 20th Century. Japanese psychology stimulated the development of psychology elsewhere in East Asia, a manifestation of intellectual and ideological colonization as the Empire of Japan expanded its territory in the region. These are among the origins of psychology in East Asia.
Since the second half of the 20th Century, psychology in East Asia has developed, each country affecting the other, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Psychologists in East Asia have Buddhism, Confucianism, Chinese characters and other cultural-political factors as a common background and moral tradition. Psychology has recently developed in both academia and in diverse social sectors, wherever psychological knowledge has been used to position people as psychological objects.
Psychology in East Asia has problems including psychologization and Americanization. Although critical psychologists in East Asia have been working to address these problems, there have hitherto been no networks of critical psychologists in East Asia, like those in Europe, Canada and US, Latin America and, to an extent, Africa. By connecting with each other and with critical psychologists from other areas of the globe at the 2020 Critical Psychology Conference in East Asia, it is hoped East Asian critical psychology will be energized and strengthened.
It is hoped to create a forum for the facilitation of exchanges between critical psychologists in East Asia and between them and critical psychologists around the world in order to bring about changes in psychology and in psychologized society and thereby to promote the welfare of people and the advancement of knowledge.