The Hokusei Gakuen University Digital Media and Society Lab was founded in April 2017 as one of Japan’s only research groups to focus on the cross-cultural dynamics of cyberpsychology and digital media use. With the rapidly growing consumer class in the Asia-Pacific region, there has never been a more important time to focus on culture’s impact on digital media interaction, consumption, and creation.
The lab is led by Robert Thomson (www.robthomo.com), who gained his Masters and Ph.D. from Hokkaido University (Japan), has studied at the University of Oxford Internet Institute (UK), and is originally from New Zealand. Fluent in Japanese (he wrote his Masters thesis in Japanese), and having lived in Japan for over 10 years, he is well placed to facilitate lab research into culture and the Internet.
The Hokusei Gakuen University Digital Media and Society Lab is an all-English environment. Lab meetings, written communication, and social gatherings are all in English. Our undergraduates are all English majors, so their English is excellent.
We stay abreast of the latest advances in quantitative research methods. Multi-group CFAs, multi-level structural equation modelling and HLM, and robust, bread-and-butter cross-cultural research methods all make us far too excited.
We are committed to producing high quality, internationally competitive research that makes a difference. Being based in Japan means we are perfectly placed to test innovative hypotheses about cultural similarities and differences in digital media use.
The lab funds pool is available for all lab members to access for research projects – online crowd-sourcing (Amazon Mechanical Turk, Lancers.jp etc.), Qualtrics web surveys, SPSS and Mplus statistics software – we have you covered. We conduct at least one collaborative large-scale cross-cultural survey per year.
Every year around October, the Digital Media and Society Lab holds an overnight retreat at an onsen-hotel just outside of Sapporo City. Senior Lab members present their findings, and in-depth sessions are held to deepen understanding about current issues in cyberpsychology.
The consumer class in the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing in the world. Be close to the action, embedded in a region going through fast changes in digital media consumption. From Sapporo’s international airport, over 15 destinations in the Asia Pacific are accessible by direct flight. Shanghai, for example, is only a $150 flight away!
We’re located in Sapporo, the urban hub of Hokkaido – Japan’s northern-most (and we think best) island. Hokkaido is home to Japan’s best natural resources – the best skiing in the world, amazing temperate summers (great for cycle touring and hiking), and still all the great things you expect from Japan: great (local) food, deep culture, and the sights and sounds of Japan. Did we mention that Tokyo is only 1.5 hours and US$90 away by plane?
Hokusei Gakuen University (HGU) is surrounded by places to go and things to see. Besides the nearby subway station, HGU is also right next to the Shiroishi Cycling Road, which is a 100% separated cyclepath that runs directly into central Sapporo (about 12km from HGU). The cycleroad carries on all the way to Kita-Hiroshima City, which means getting out of the bustle of Sapporo is really easy.
The lab logo is a mash-up of the words “digital,” “media,” “society,” and “lab”. Digital was transformed into its Japanese phonetic equivalent “デジタル” and just the first two katakana characters “デジ” were retained. Likewise, “media” took on the Japanese equivalent “メディア”, and we just kept the first character “メ”. Then we took the first two letters of “society” and “lab” to make “sola”. And voila: “デジメsola“