Recently in 05. Column Category

Professor, ICU
【Full article not available. The summary below is the same as the article that appears in the seventh issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

Sigh. As expected, the revised Basic Education Law has been approved in the Diet. According to the draft law, the revised law will include new phrases such as “civic spirit” and “patriotism.” These changes themselves are cause for concern as they imply a regression toward greater intervention and control of education by the state akin to the prewar Imperial Rescript on Education. However, here I will broaden the scope of the argument and focus, from a gender perspective, on the fundamental principles behind the so-called “Beautiful Nation” advocated by the Abe administration in its revision of the Basic Education Law and other policies.

Being gay is simply not a Gender Identity Disorder (GID), as I so would love to believe. Being one is beyond the bound of natural or supernatural hypothesis. Being one is not chosen. You know you are gay when you feel like one.

"If you do not contribute to the army, you are not a man" I was shocked to hear this from my Korean friend's mother. I had been in South Korea last year as an exchange student to Ewha Womans University. Ewha is a woman's school as it can be seen by the name, but men can also study if they use exchange program. A few months had passed since I arrived at Korea and I was beginning to realize many similarities between Korea and Japan, so I felt a feeling of discomfort. For example, in terms of language, word order is the same, and particle such as wa, ga, wo, mo are used the same. The concept of "man" however, is quite different in Korea and Japan. Then, why is "man" perceived different?

The official announcement made in July, 2004, reported that the average number of times a woman give birth during her lifetime fell to a new record low of 1.29. As far as I remember, the term "1.53 shock" was all over the newspapers in the beginning of 1990's, and the intellectuals were literally very shocked that they could not even hide their disappointment:"now the declination of Japanese population is undoubted." It is to my surprise that almost nothing had done by taking advantage of "useful women's opinion" against such serious social problem of human reproduction in more than a decade since then. Certainly, it is a matter of congratulation that making choice of not to have any children has been becoming approvable in society. However, here I dear to focus on the circumstance that makes women who are "interested in having one or more children" feel "they cannot" in spite of their thoughts.

The term "Gender", which was not very common in a while ago, has been gradually becoming familiar to people today. On the other hand, "Gender" has also received a negative image by mass media. In particular, since the enforcement of Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society, the criticism has been made on the notion of a "Gender Free" ideology. It is argued from the mass media perspective that "Gender Free" is a vicious ideology that that invalidates the importance of fixed gender roles among human beings and dismantles the traditions of Japanese society.

Humanities: Miyasaka, Natsumi [CGS NewsLetter 001]

TV drama is an interesting research material, especially for those scholars of gender expression in fiction like myself. Stating this as an excuse, I habitually watch popular TV dramas, both Japanese and foreign, and I cannot help noticing the huge difference that lies between Japanese and English (or American) dramas. The latter, reflecting social maturity perhaps, seldom contains the old gender-stereotype. For instance, they do not differentiate any occupation by sex. We see male and female lawyers fighting evenly in a courtroom. There are as many female doctors as male ones, and male nurses as female ones. We see a couple with a wife as an office worker and a husband as a homemaker. Whether or not these images sincerely mirror the actual situation in society is another issue. At least, these dramas do not impose on women negative images as their role models through such a public and influential media as TV.

05. Column: Monthly Archives