Recently in 03. From Asia Category

[News from Asia]
Visiting Researcher, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University
[The article below is the same as the article that appears in the seventeenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.]

2014 marks the final year of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Koto Kanno worked for many years with UNESCO, including stints at the Paris Headquarters and as UNESCO's Representative to Nepal and Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. We invited her to share her insights and current research on basic education for women in developing countries.


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.

KHUAT Thu Hong
Director, Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population; Founder, Consultation of Investment in Health Promotion

Natsumi IKOMA,SteeringCommitteeMember,CGS;SeniorAssociate Professor, ICU; Samantha LANDAU, Assistant, CGS

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

In the 2012 autumn term, ICU will welcome Professor Thu Hong Khuat from Vietnam to teach the course "Special Topics in Gender Studies." She talked to Natsumi Ikoma and Samantha Landau about her life and her research interests.

Hoang Tu Anh, MD, MSc
Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population

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

Professor Tu Anh Hoang, who was introduced to us by ICU's visiting professor Thu Hong Khuat, kindly sent us an article on the current state of sexual and reproductive health in their country, Vietnam.

An Exchange Student from the People's Republic of China

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

 On April 3rd, 2011, police stormed into Q Bar, a gay bar in the Bund area of Shanghai, and detained more than sixty patrons and employees for nearly twelve hours. It is reported that they were held at Xiaodongmen police station without food, drink, or blankets. Police cited a "pornographic show" at the bar as their reason for the raid, but many of the detainees deny that such a show was being staged.
 There are a number of alternative explanations for this raid. Firstly, homophobia prevails in the People's Republic of China. Sodomy was decriminalized in 1997, and homosexuality was officially removed from a list of mental illnesses in 2001. However, homosexuals, and sexual minorities in general, are still subject to discrimination in the wider community. Even though such attitudes are gradually fading away among the younger generation, I have myself experienced the deep-rooted prejudice that still exists among their parents' generation and society as a whole.
 The nature of politics in the People's Republic of China may have been another contributing factor. As seen by recent events in which a number of pro-democracy campaigners were detained and arrested, the government tends to restrict the freedom of its citizens without examining their political assertions or social positions if they are judged to be a threat to political stability. This was illustrated by the fact that only the Chinese patrons and employees at Q Bar were taken into custody, while foreign citizens were allowed to leave (although this is also partly because police can only detain Chinese citizens by law). Other cases involving politics and perhaps also homophobia are the major police raid on a Shanghai gay bar in 2007, and the last-minute police intervention that led to the cancellation of Beijing's gay and lesbian culture festival in 2005. Furthermore, the Shanghai Pride festival was rst held in 2009, but organizers were compelled by authorities to cancel some events at very short notice, and the planned gay parade was not allowed to take place. Activities for LGBT empowerment are often suppressed when they are considered to clash with city and provincial governments. As the situation for LGBTs in the People's Republic of China is a complex mix of political, cultural, and historical contexts, there are obviously a number of other factors to be considered besides those listed above. It should also be noted that the situation diers in Beijing and other cities, as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong.
 For now, I wish to conclude by expressing my hope for the realization of a world in which LGBTs in the People's Republic of China and across the globe are no longer discriminated for their sexual orientations.

Mabel AU
a former CAW Coordinator

Historically, the labour movement was largely developed along with the process of industrialization. The labour movement grew stronger through the daily struggle against unfair working conditions. Following a similar logic, women workers in Asia should already have gained substantial strength to defend their rights. Particularly, the capital had been intensively involved women in industrialization in Asia since the end of WWII. However there were many obstacles hindering the organisation of women workers into a strong collective.

In this article, I am going to present the situation of women workers in Asia and the difficulties they faced in their efforts in organisation. Then, I will further illustrate the impact of globalisation on women workers. Finally, I would like to argue that a strong labour movement is possible only if we put more effort into organising the unorganized, particularly the women workers.

Ling LIN
Graduate Student, Beijing Normal University

The first encounter: curiosity
Before I received education under the guidance of my advisor, Prof. Zhengxinrong, I had never known that she was a feminist. Even after that, I still couldn’t imagine what deep influence her involvement with feminism would have on me. Four years have passed since my first encounter with feminism. I am now greatly interested in this field: Like my adviser, I have also become a feminist.
The past four years have of course been a slow process. First, introduced to a number of studies concerning women, I learned to discuss the issues surrounding the status of women. In addition, my co-workers and I had a formal interview with Prof. Zhengxinrong to learn about her experiences in women’s studies. However, it wasn’t until 2002, when I attended a Chinese women’s studies seminar supported by the Ford Foundation in Guangzhou, that I began to see where my future was headed.

On January 7, 2006, a symposium entitled "60 years of 'post-war'in East Asia: Militarization and Sexuality"was held at Ochanomizu University. It featured reports on the relationship between militarization and gender/ sexuality, focusing particularly in China, Japan and South Korea. Prof. Kwon Insook's (Myongji University, Korea) lecture on "Korean militarization and masculinity", discussed how models of femininity and masculinity had been constructed in South Korea from the 1950s to 1970s in order to build an economically and militarily powerful state.

The conscription system for the past 50 years has created a belief that men should willingly sacrifice themselves for the state and that women should serve the state and men as subordinates. Prof. Kwon gave sex workers, factory workers as an example. They are not only stigmatized as "fallen women", but are used also to construct a model of "true femininity "for other women.

This lecture made me realize that state security is not simply about balancing power relations between nations.

Ikumi KANEKO : ICU Undergraduate

The Centre for Gender Research (CGR), or in Malay, Pusat Penyelidikan Gender (PPG), is a research center under the administration of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. CGR was established on July 1, 2003. The mission of CGR is to become a center of excellence that seeks to enhance knowledge and expertise in the field of gender studies so that information gathered and the skills acquired through its activities will contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the peoples of Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

The 7th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (the Kobe Congress), and the 1st International Conference of Asian Queer Studies (the Queer Congress), were held in July 2005 in Kobe and Bangkok respectively. The Kobe Congress took place between July 1 and 5 with the participation of AIDS researchers and NPOs and featured reports, lectures and workshops. The Queer Congress took place between July 7 and 9 with the participation of queer studies researchers and activists who gave lectures and made reports. Both events are very important for research in the fields of gender and sexuality.

Women's Worlds 2005 was held from June 19-25 at Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, Korea. There were over 2,300 participants. It was the ninth meeting of this international congress and the first in Asia since its inception in Israel in 1981. Three CGS professors reported on last year's International Workshop and discussed future research perspectives at a session entitled "The Future of Women's Network in Asia: Academia and Beyond". Eight ICU students also attended the conference.

The question of 'Loser Dogs' has been hotly debated in Japan since Sakai Junko's bestselling volume of essays "The Distant Howl of the Loser Dogs," prompted the coining of the new term to refer to unmarried, childless women over thirty. Almost concurrently in neighbouring China, debate has centered around the question of 'Winning Dogs' - marital relationships and what it means to be a 'wife' - largely due to a television drama serial called "Chinese-style Divorce".

When I was in junior high school, I heard the story of a girl called Rosario on TV. She was one of the so-called `street children,` abandoned by her parents and by society, a drug-addict spending the nights on a heap of garbage. She lived in Olongapo, one of the cities in the Philippines with a thriving sex industry. She worked as a prostitute to survive and had continually been subjected to violations by sex tourists. She died after suffering for three months with a vibrator stuck inside her body. Her case certainly revealed the sordid side of the sex industry. This one incident triggered my interest in issues concerning the commercial and sexual exploitation of children. It is a very complex problem, involving political, economic, social and cultural factors. My senior thesis traces the development of the "Sex and Travel Industries" in Asia and suggests possible solutions to the situation. As this is a problem which I would like to devote the rest of my life to, I did not think that I should leave my research hanging as a mere armchair theory. Thus, after submitting my thesis, I travelled to Thailand and the Philippines for three weeks to have a look at the real state of affairs.

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.

Dowry has become a very common word and it is practiced in Indian society without any inhibitions or ill feelings. Dowry is a payment from the bride's family to the groom or groom's family at the time of marriage. Upon marriage, daughters are given all modern household gadgetry as dowry such as furniture, crockery, electrical appliances (in recent years refrigerators, television etc.) as well as personal items of clothing, jewellery and cash. Some parents also give a car among dowry items. The value of the dowry depends on the jobs the grooms may be holding at the time of marriage, ranging from 250,000 Yen to 5 million Yen or more in a country where a basic graduate's salary starts from 6,250 Yen (with the exception of medical and engineering graduates.) The fact is that no good alliance can be made without offering the above-mentioned gifts. This system is more rigid in the northern Hindi-speaking region consisting of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana states, although it is against the law. The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, amended in 1984 and 1986, treats the offence of dowry as cognizable and non-bailable, giving and taking dowry is prohibited, cruelty of others to the woman driving her to suicide is punished. Inquiries are made into any woman's suicide or death in suspicious circumstances within seven years of her marriage. You can find a lot of information on this social evil on the Internet and in books available on women's issues in India. In fact, there are a number of books available in our ICU library itself. In this paper, I would like to mention my own family's experience regarding dowry at the time of my elder sister's marriage.