Recently in 02. From Japan Category


9th March, 2013 (Sat)
10th March, 2013 (Sun)

Place: International Conference Room, Dialogue House, International Christian University

Language: Japanese/English with Simultaneous Interpretation
Free, No Appointment Necessary

Hosted by Center for Gender Studies YoRAP2012-2013
Cordinator: Mao UEDA (CGS Research Institute Assistant), Hikari MOKUTA(CGS Research Institute Assistant)

This two day event will explore the possibilities of forming "lesbian" networks and connections to survive and resist heterosexism. We welcome all those who have built and continue to sustain the 〈bonds between "women"〉 and support the connections of "lesbians" in Korea and Japan to discuss support systems and their difficulties. This event will also kick-off the subsequent event, "Sexualities in 'Asia'."

Day 1: Filming the Connection of Youth Lesbian in Korea
9th March, 2013 (Sat) 13:00-17:10 (Doors open at 12:30)
13:00-15:00 Film Screening
15:15-17:10 Director's Talk

Film screening: "OUT: Smashing Homophobia Project"
directed by Feminist Video Activism WOM(2007)
Speakers: LEE, Young (Director), LEE, Hye-ran (Producer), HONG, So-in (Researcher)

The film "OUT: Smashing Homophobia Project" (2007) is about lesbian youth in Korea, and it depicts how they struggle with and confront the issues of homophobia and being a "lesbian." After the screening, we'll invite three people from Feminist Video Activism WOM to talk about the background of the filming, as well as the situations and the struggles of youth lesbians, lesbian activism, and supporting systems in Korea, and how those projects, activism and supporting systems help to create "lesbian" empowerment.

Day 2: Thinking about 〈Bonds Between "Women"〉 in Support System
10th March, 2013 (Sun) 12:30-17:40 (Doors open at 12:00)
12:30-15:15 Symposium
15:30-17:10 Floor Discussion

Naeko WAKABAYASHI (Regumi Studio Tokyo)
Chizuka OE (LOUD)
Seiko KAZAWA (Rainbow Community coLLabo)
Miho OKADA (RC-NET: Rape Crisis Network)
Yumi UCHIDA (Sexuality and Human Rights Network ESTO)

Three lesbian communities were founded in a different period of time. The first half of the event, we'll discuss how each community has defined "lesbian" and "woman," and what it means to be a "lesbian" living in this society. The second half of the event, we'll welcome Miho OKADA and Yumi UCHIDA and discuss about the issues of being a sexual minority in such situations, as the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, domestic violence, rape, and inaccessibility to the resources particularly about the information on their survival.

Professor, College of Arts, Rikkyo University

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fifteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

Kazuko Takemura, a pioneer in the field of gender and sexuality studies in Japan, passed away on December 13, 2011. Professor Keiko Nitta of Rikkyo University pays tribute to her mentor and friend in this eulogy.

board member, Takemura Fund; former professor, Ochanomizu University
【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fifteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

The Kazuko Takemura Fund for Feminist Research for Gender Equality and Justice was established at the behest of the late Kazuko Takemura (see http://takemura-fund. org/). Former Ochanomizu University professor Kiyomi Kawano is currently a board member of this "Takemura Fund" and tells us how it all came about.

Assistant Professor, Saitama Prefectural University
【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fifteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

In this issue, we explore new ways of looking at the nature of labor and society, and how they affect our lives. Working under the title, "To Work is to Live: Gender Perspectives," our first topic is "Basic Income." We asked Kaori Katada, co- editor of the book Bēshikku inkamu to jendā [Basic Income and Gender] (Gendai shokan, 2011), about how she thinks this concept opens up new horizons for society.

Shingo HORI
Assistant, CGS; Graduate Student, Waseda University
Assistant, CGS

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fifteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

Three ICU students engaged in a roundtable discussion with Kaori Katada after attending her lecture "Basic Income: Feasibility and Potential." Chaired by CGS assistant Miho Matsuzaki, the in-depth discussion centered on the topic "Work, Life, and Basic Income," which was chosen by roundtable coordinator and CGS assistant Shingo Hori (SH).

Interviewer KazukoTANAKA,Director,CGS;Professor,ICU
Interviewee Midori ITO, Action Center for Working Women(ACW2)

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fifteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

With the growing need in Japan for new initiatives like Basic Income, there is also a need to re-examine labor and society using up-to-date data from the field. Midori Ito, from the Action Center for Working Women (ACW2), recently spoke to CGS Director Kazuko Tanaka about ACW2's surveys of the youth employment situation.

President and Representative Director, Creators 440Hz
Takeshi NAGAI
Director, Creators 440Hz

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fifteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

Shure University (administered by the NPO Tokyo Shure) brings students together under the rubric "Live Life Your Way." Graduates of the university later founded the company Creators 440Hz (http://creators Creators 440Hz president and representative director Megumi Ishimoto and director Takeshi Nagai tell us more about the company, which was initiated and developed by the founders' personal reflections on the meaning of work and of life.

Haengri LEE
Graduate School of Language and Society, Hitotsubashi University

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fourteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

 Ten years have passed since the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery (hereafter, the Tribunal) fought to restore justice and dignity to victims of the Japanese military's sexual slavery by exposing the unlawfulness of its latent violence. This people's tribunal was held in December 2000 in Tokyo to adjudicate the Japanese military's enforcement of sexual slavery. On December 5th, 2010, "Ten Years after the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery: International Symposium on the Tribunal's ndings and the changes it brought about - sexual violence, racial prejudice, and colonialism," was held at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. About 500 people participated in this event, which reected on the signicance of the Tribunal and summarized the situation and activism regarding the problem of "comfort women."
 In the first session, "What was the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal?" one of the Tribunal's chief prosecutors, Patricia Viseur-Sellers, declared that its ruling was epochal in stating that sexual slavery based on gender constituted a crime against humanity, because the issue had not previously been addressed at the Tokyo Tribunal (1946-1948). She also stressed the need for the compensation and reparations recommended by the Tribunal to be carried out by civil society.
 In the second session, "Testimony of the Victims of the Japanese Military's Sexual Violence in Asia," testimonies were heard from two Chinese victims, Wei Shao-Lan and her son Luo Shan-Xue. During Japan's invasion, Wei was taken by the Japanese soldiers, and forced to become one of many comfort women. Luo, who was born as a result of the countless rapes she endured, grew up being taunted and excluded by others for being "the son of a Japanese." The fact that he had to bear the blame for Japan's wrongdoing illustrates the deep-rooted problem of comfort women: not only are the survivors themselves traumatized by the past, but succeeding generations are also subject to suering and pain from it.
 At the third session, "The Tribunal's Ruling: How We Can Continue the Testimonies," a video was screened in which Lisa Yoneyama criticized the national Japanese network NHK's modied coverage of the Tribunal in 2001. NHK omitted references to the Tribunals' fundamental principle that "there can be no peace or reconciliation without clarifying responsibility," the testimonies of victims, and the nal verdict that found the Emperor Hirohito ultimately responsible for the sex slave policy. Furthermore, it failed to convey the Tribunal's critical feminist ideology, the view that gender relations are constrained by colonialism, racism and social discrimination. Yoneyama then posed the following two problems: 1) the question of how the listeners would face the testimony, and 2) the need to reflect more deeply on the idea that "there can be no peace or reconciliation without justice."
 The difficulty for survivors is not caused simply by the lack of awareness in society regarding sexual violence or by Japan's unwillingness to acknowledge its responsibility for war crimes. Other important factors are the split between North and South Korea caused by colonial independence, and the economic and social gulf that exists between Japan and other East Asian countries. Amidst a backlash against questioning the history of Japan's invasion and its colonial rule, the Japanese government is pushing for a multi-national military policy, which will strengthen its militarism. Without criticizing this continuation of colonialism, these problems can never truly be overcome.
 In order to realize the ndings of the Tribunal in Japan, we must continue to investigate the relationship between sexual violence, racism, and colonialism, which was discussed at this symposium, and to conduct further research with a view to problem resolution.

Society of Humanities, Graduate School of Miyagi Gakuin Women's University/Regular Member, Sexualities and Human Rights Network ESTO

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fourteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】
(ESTO Logo)

 I still cannot forget the overwhelming terror I felt when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. The ground shook violently for what seemed like an eternity, and the size of the tsunamis that hit the Tohoku region beggared belief. As a recipient of the aid that has since been pouring in from all over the country and the world, I would like to express my sincere gratitude. It has enabled us to start rebuilding our shattered lives.
 For some time I have been concerned with the problems of sexual minorities (hereafter LGBTIs), and I am a member of the sexual and human rights network ESTO. Our organization recently hosted a discussion in Sendai on natural disasters and sexual minorities, where participants shared their experiences and thoughts of the disaster and its aftermath. When one survivor who has GID (Gender Identity Disorder) spoke about having to wear the same nabe shatsu (chest-binding undergarment) for a week, ESTO collected and delivered donations of nabe shatsu from far and wide. Although there are many other organizations besides ours supporting the aected regions, there is still a long way to go. Here I will focus on the needs of LGBTI survivors.
 One of the primary problems after a disaster is that of identication for accessing medical facilities or safety conrmation. People with GID or DSD (Disorders/Divergence of Sex Development) nd it hard to use medical facilities because the gender mentioned on their health insurance cards may not correspond to their physical features. The fact that there are few medical practitioners with proper knowledge of LGBTIs in the make-shift hospitals further compounds the problem. Moreover, if the patient is unconscious with a condition associated with his/her physical gender, there may be unnecessary delays in treatment because such decisions are likely to be based on physical appearance. Proper identication poses a similar problem for safety conrmation. Notication regarding deceased persons is based on physical appearance, which may differ from the sex noted in his/her official family registry (koseki). Since homosexual partners are not legally considered to be family members, they are denied the right to make vital decisions for medical treatment or to receive the bodies of their deceased partners.
 Another issue is the sex segregation of living quarters in most evacuation centers. People with GID are categorized as male or female based on their gender identity or their biological sex. This system is far from perfect: The former case leads to problems in using communal baths and changing rooms, and the latter case subjects them to needless stress. The living conditions at evacuation centers are therefore very dicult for LGBTIs because their existence is not recognized.
 Finally, the problem of identication also arises when applying for fin ancial aid. People with GID or DSD are scrutinized and exposed to awkward questions when they submit documents that note their gender.
 These are just a few of the problems faced by the LGBTI community in the aftermath of the disaster. I feel that there is an urgent need not only for us to appeal to society, but also for intermediaries who are well-versed in the needs of LGBTI to act as a pipe-line between relief efforts and the victims. The problems I have listed here pose a grave threat to the protection of basic human rights, and cannot be ignored. There remains much to be done in order to ensure quality of life for LGBTI victims of this natural disaster.

Council Member, Nakano Ward Council

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the fourteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

 "I can't help feeling that they [sexual minorities] are lacking in some way. It's probably because of their genetics. I pity them for being minorities." Behind this remark by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara lie two thinly veiled delusions: 1) there are genetic dierences between the sexual majority and minorities; and 2) to live in contentment, one must be a part of the majority.
 The approval or indifference with which many Tokyoites responded to this remark by a public official reveals the widespread view that homosexuals exist only on television programs, or that they are different, unhappy people who should be pitied. Perhaps those laboring under such delusions are afraid of the realization that they could be unhappy themselves one day, or that they may already be unhappy. So perhaps they look for people like minorities who seem particularly unhappy to persuade themselves that their lives are at least happier in comparison.
 Yet in reality, we are all lacking in some ways and gifted in others. Misery or misfortune may befall any of us at any time. Regardless of majority or minority status, each and every person is diverse and foreign. While we may experience conict at times, we should try to remain open and accepting. By complementing each other's strengths and weaknesses, and living in harmonious coexistence, we have the potential to achieve greater results than a single "complete" individual.
 A demonstration was held in Nakano on January 14th, 2011 in protest against the aforementioned remark by the governor. Nevertheless, in the Tokyo gubernatorial election held three months later, Ishihara won his fourth consecutive term. This resulted from a lack of continuous and eective campaigns against Ishihara, and the fact that 40% of Tokyo citizens did not take up their voting rights. These issues must be resolved for the creation of a true gay-friendly society.

(A Photo from the Protest Meeting ©Rainbow Action)
(A Photo from the Protest Demonstration ©Rainbow Action)

 In a society where citizens are legally authorized to vote for a leader, it is essential that we also consider how to go about debating and negotiating with the elected leader. Even if one despises the the current social system, problems will never be resolved by abdicating one's right to participate in the political process. Rather, one should utilize the law, government officials, and city council members, in order to disseminate one's ideas and opinions throughout society. It is a right that we all possess, and we must nd ways to make full use of it.

Takako NIWA
ICU Post-graduate

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the twelfth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

The annual conference of the Women's Studies Association of Japan was held at Ochanomizu Women's University on June 27th and 28th, 2009. My general impression was that the association was not mired in the 30 years of its history, but was clearly looking ahead to the future. This was evident in the selection of general members for the positions of section meeting supervisors and in the fact that the symposium was held on the last day, not the first day, to sum up the whole conference.

Director, NPO Support House NENRIN
【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the 11th issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

"Baumkuchen," the precursor of Support House NENRIN, was formed by participants of a course hosted by the community center in former Tanashi city in 1978. Through this one-year course, I learned that women's education and social norms were determined by the needs of the business world. While all of the course participants were full-time housewives, we began to realize the vulnerability of our positions, and so began to create our own worlds. Then in 1985, having acquired a day service job at a local elder care centre, I was to learn the social situation in which care work is placed.

Kazuyoshi KAWASAKA
Graduate student, ICU

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the 11
th issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

The first conference of the Japan Association for Queer Studies (JAQS), was held at Hiroshima Shudo University on November 8th and 9th, 2008. Despite the last minute notice of absence of one of the symposiasts, the conference was a success with many participants from diverse backgrounds. I was happy with the number of participants, the level of intellectual interaction that took place, as well as the exchange among scholars, students and activists. In this report, however, I would like to put aside the temptation and talk about the problems that were hard to see but surely existed at the conference.

Makiko ISERI
Graduate Student, Hitotsubashi University

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the 11th issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

The Rainbow March in Sapporo brought together Hokkaido locals and people from all over the country and beyond under a beautiful sunny sky. I went there because I had heard many good things about it and knew that the Tokyo Pride Parade had been postponed this year. And I'm glad I decided to go; the event was full of smiles and energy, and there was no excessive police or public intervention so the whole walk was fun and empowering.

Michiko SAKAI
Undergraduate student, ICU

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the 11th issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

After giving birth to my daughter in December 2007, I planned to return to ICU in April with the hope of entrusting my child to the proposed ICU childcare center. However, this childcare center was never established, and I was forced to abandon these plans. Critics may say that the idea of going to school while raising a child may have been too hopeful. I feel this myself more than anyone. Nevertheless, I feel overjoyed in being blessed with a daughter. Without question, I believe I made the right choice by giving birth to her.