June 30, 2014

WAN protests against the sexist comments made in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.

Japanese lawmaker Akihiro Suzuki (LDP) has apologized in response to the protests from Ayaka Shiomura (Your Party) though the apology was considered to be too late. The apology was made due to the pressure from public opinion. In addition to Suzuki, there were other male lawmakers in the Assembly who either made sexist gibes or jeered, but remained silent.

The Assembly did not pass the resolution calling for the identification of the speaker and their resignation. The Assembly tried to bring the incident to an end without charging anybody. It shows that sexist attitudes are deeply rooted within the Assembly.

Since similar sexist comments and behavior have been made in other legislative assemblies in Japan, WAN urges that these assemblies take remedial actions against prevalent sexual harassment in the assemblies.

Executive Board; Certified NPO, Women’s Action Network

Translated and adapted by Fumie Saito
Original Statement on the WAN Website (June 30, 2014): http://wan.or.jp/emergency/?p=1765


Fundraising for Fishermen Fighting Nuclear Power in Iwaishima: The Sea is for Everyone, not for Sale

Iwaishima, a small, heart-shaped island that lies in the Inland Sea of Japan, needs your help and needs it fast.

Iwaishima Island has long faced Chugoku Electric Power’s plans to build a nuclear power plant along the Inland Sea. Ninety percent of local fishermen are united against the plans, and their resolve has been strengthened all the more since the TEPCO disaster in Fukushima. While Chugoku Electric Power has offered 1.08 billion yen as compensation, the fishermen have repeatedly refused the money as a sign of their firm stance against the nuclear plant.

In the meantime, as the local population ages and decreases, Iwaishima’s fishing business has been in decline. Individual fishermen have been making up for business losses, estimated at 10 million yen since 2013, through their own pensions. Locals worry how much longer this situation can continue, given the severe economics that surround Iwaishima fishery. Because officially turning down Chugoku Electric's compensation money requires a majority in the fishermen’s union, the need for outside financial support has become urgent.

Our goal is to raise five million yen and deliver it to Iwaishima on July 21, Marine Day, Japan's national holiday for celebrating the sea. Your financial support would be highly appreciated as the fishermen carry on their fight against nuclear power.

We ask for donations starting from one thousand yen. Please make transfers to our Japan Post Bank account.

Transferring from Japan Post Bank
Account number: 01320-0-90176
Account holder: Minna no umi no kai

Transferring from other banks
Branch name: Ichi san kyu
Account type: Checking
Account number: 0090176
Account holder: Minna no umi no kai

Organized by:
Masae Yuasa (Hiroshima-Kaminoseki Link)
Shin Yamaaki (Author of "People Who Will Not Let Nuclear Plants Be Built -- From Iwaishima to the Future --")
Aya Hanabusa (Director of Houri no Shima)

Contact: minnanoumi0721@yahoo.co.jp

Original Article from Team Zero Net on WAN website
Summary translated by Aya Kitamura


(The following is a translation of an introduction by the author himself about the controversial book The Impending Era of Sons Nursing Their Parents: From the Front Lines of 28 Cases.)

Book title: The Impending Era of Sons Nursing Their Parents: From the Front Lines of 28 Cases
Author: Ryo Hirayama
Publisher: Kobunsha (2014-02-18), 318 pages

If you ask Japanese people what worries them now or in the future, more than a few would mention nursing of their parents. And what if a male were to take care of his parents? How will he view his family, career, and society once the nursing is his responsibility?

My original question was, “Why is it that adult males are at a loss of words about their roles as a son when they can eloquently assert their ideals about their roles as husband or father?”  To answer this question I started researching middle-aged sons, and I eventually reached the issue of sons nursing their parents. This was the starting point of my book. I interviewed 28 men who had ended up caring for their parents at home (some without choice), and I dug into the realities of life as a care-giving son.

It was an honor for me to have Chizuko Ueno write a commentary essay in this book. She gave me her endorsement (?) as “the ideal interviewer that men could talk to without feeling embarrassed about themselves” because of my lack of wealth, social status, and distinction. My subjects did talk to me candidly, baring their souls about their marital relationships, sibling dynamics, and coziness or competition with friends or colleagues. But what emerged was not their special experience as a social minority, but a “masculine” relationship protocol that applies to all men, and its vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Of course I would be happy if current and future caregiving sons read this book, but I would also like the females those who may play a principle role in the world of male caregiving as a wife, sister, or a mother to be cared for to also take a hold of this book.

Ryo Hirayama
Born in 1979 in Kanagawa. B.A. (Humanities) and M.A (Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology) from the University of Tokyo and Ph.D. from Oregon State University. His specialities are social gerontology and social psychology. He worked as a research fellow at the Japan Foundation for Aging and Health of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, and now continues his research at the former as a special research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. His main papers have been published in the Journal of Gerontology, Social Sciences, Journal of Family Theory & Review, etc. This is his first independent book published in the Japanese language.

Adapted and translated by Naoko Hirose


Recent Exhibitions by Female Artists

An exhibition of OH Haji, a textile artist who received art education in Kyoto and sewing training in Seoul, Korea, is to be opened in Koganei Art Spot Chateau, Koganei City, Tokyo, from 14 to 29 June, 2014.
According to the caption on its poster, the exhibition was inspired by OH’s grandmother returning home to the Jeju Island in 1993 after so many years of having imagined about the island without even locating it on a map, and by OH herself visiting the island for the first time in 2004 to wear Korean costumes called “chima jeogori” of her mother and grandmother.

The installations including the costumes shown in the leaflet of the exhibition below will be exhibited.  A workshop to “unravel and undo the knots” will also be held on Sunday, June 22, in the same venue.  It is organized as part of a series of workshops initiated in Western Japan as Breaker Project activities, suggesting OH’s own way to retrace memories in pursuit of untold memories or memories beyond verbal description.

Participants of the workshop in Koganei are requested to bring in old knit wears to be unknitted and encouraged to tell their individual stories about the wears while unknitting them into balls of yarns.

MIYARA Eiko’s exhibition “Okinawa - With Love and Peace” is underway in Maruki Gallery for the Hiroshima Panels, Matsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture. 

The artist MIYARA was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu, and started her artistic career in Tokyo in 1958.
Since she moved to Okinawa to live with her Okinawan husband in 1971, just before the islands’ administration was returned to Japan, she has been painting the oppressed and wretched, especially women, in Okinawa, Vietnam and other parts of Asia.

Maruki Gallery is holding her exhibition with moral and financial support from many people in order to remind the historical and social issues and to raise consciousness about the structural problems Okinawa is suffering as is represented by the US military bases.
The exhibition is scheduled to continue until July 12, 2014.

Translated and adapted by FUKUOKA A.A.
from Japanese website:


What’s New on WAN’s Website as of April 30, 2014

◆Market Pick-up

Introducing the items selected from "My recomendation" 
Perfect gifts for Mother's Day!!

Mother's Day Recommendations part 1
<Accessories & Fashion>

◎Jewelry from "jewelry Sasaki"
 Red Copper accessories
◎Thai silk items from "Thai, Thai, Thai"

Ms. Ueno wearing Thai silk stole from "Thai, Thai, Thai"
and more...

Mother's Day Recommendations part 2
<Sundries & Foods>

◎Baskets woven with Akebi vines

and more...

Posted by T. Muramatsu


Asian Journal of Women's Studies Vol. 20, No. 1

Asian Journal of Women's Studies announces its newest volume.

Asian Center for Women's Studies Ewha Womans University http://acws.ewha.ac.kr

Posted by T. Muramatsu


Category:  Forum on Labor, Social Policy, and Gender

“To Make a Square Society Round through Triangle Rakugo, Part2,” a Rakugo (storytelling) Oral Presentation and Workshop was organized by NPO Participation Planet on February 27, 2014.

Senkin Tei Ataisenkin talked about the “gender equality through fun and easy-to-understand form of storytelling known as Rakugo at Tsunagaretto NAGOYA, making this the second time that a Rakugo Oral Presentation and Workshop had been held.

Senkin Tei Ataisenkin was originally a staff of Saitama Tsurugashima City Office. During his tenure at the community center, he has organized courses and events dealing with the topic of natural environment, home education, stage entertainment, community welfare and development to education courses for the elderly and planning business projects. He is a unique oral performer, who says that having chosen separate surnames when he got married further enhanced his interest in gender equality.

On this day, with lively musical accompaniment flowing in the Rakugo Hall, Ataisenkin appeared in the lounge where the workshop participants waited. The topic at this time was media literacy.” Through comical storytelling, he talked about how expressions and films exposed in media frequently imply ideas such as “men should be this way,” “women should act that way,” “men should be leaders,” and “it’s natural for women to be supportive.” He also pointed out how natural these nuances get imprinted in the viewers’ consciousness.

However, Senkin Tei Ataisenkin added that the media is describing “a man and a woman” in general and not “how a man or a woman should be” so it is import for us to empower ourselves with the ability to decipher the difference.

While laughing and being drawn into the story, the participants became aware that our lives are in fact controlled by silent compelling force. It is the aim of Senkin Tei Ataisenkin to emphasize the importance of knowing these facts as well as stressing the fact that a chance to participate in planning or participating equally in joint activities is the right for both man and woman.

During the workshop the participants got in pairs and talked about the daily problems they face, the pain they incur, how our society is neglecting gender equality, and how the situation can be improved.

In addition, Senkin Tei Ataisenkin renamed the hit song of the 1990s sang by Airi Hiramatsu titled, My Room, White Shirt and Me to Me, My Room and White Shirt and changed some of the wording to make it into a parody. He used his real name of Shinichi Sakamoto as the composer of the changed lyrics which are pointed out as follows.

1)   I have a request, my last name will be same as yours” “There’s an exception, I will not change my family name to yours”

2)   “Please discuss it with me first and I can be content anywhere if I’m with you “Please discuss it with me later and I will go ahead and decide my own destination

And so on. He sang with passion, reciting the lyrics rich in humor. On top of his great singing, his lyrics depicted the current situation of men and women in a society where the issue of equal participation of men and women is currently in progress.

After he had gotten the audience all excited, many participants with a big smile voiced out their wish to participate in more of these fun events.

Senkin Tei Ataisenkin says “This type of story is unnecessary to tell in a society where men and women have equal participation,” which made us feel anxious about the big problem the Japanese society of today is facing.
By Setsuko Nakamura

Translated and adapted by M. Doioka from Japanese website: http://wan.or.jp/group/?p=3213