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