Are Gender Equality Measures/Center Unnecessary in Osaka?: Protest Meeting Held on April 28

Based on Mayor Hashimoto’s “great reset,” measures to promote gender equality are now on the verge of termination.  Programs and buildings of Creo Osaka, the city’s center for gender equality, have been determined by the mayor to be “unnecessary”.  Only the information and consultation services will be left to a relevant department of the city office.

A citizens' group in Osaka protesting against the plan to terminate Creo and promoting gender equality, made an urgent call for a meeting to be held on April 28 to make their protest in time for public comments.

According to its organizer, the meeting was held  in Creo Osaka Chuo and, inspite of a short notice, attended by 53 people.  They asked the workers of Creo about what is really going on and exchanged views. 

Original article on the WAN website (April 27, 2012)

Translated and adapted from the WAN website and the following blog

TAKEMURA Kazuko Feminist Fund Started: Applications for This Year Accepted until June 18

TAKEMURA Kazuko passed away in December 2011 at the age of 57 after a one-year battle with a serious illness.

She was known as a feminist who introduced Judith Butler and Spivak to Japan as well as for her inspiring thoughts and writings, as represented by such works as About Love and “Post” Feminism.  Her lectures were also impressive and unforgettable.  In the area of Japanese academic research on gender and feminism it would be hard to find anyone who has not been influenced in some way by her powerful works.  Of course, I am also one of those who have been influenced.  I was privileged to have received a personal invitation to have dinner at her home together with Butler during her stay in Japan, and I appreciate both the opportunity and her consideration.  It is regrettable that I had to say good bye to her so soon.

However Ms. Takemura continues after her death to contribute to research on feminism and gender.  Thanks to the efforts made by Ochanomizu University and the administrators of her will, The Takemura Fund for Feminist Research for Gender Equality and Justice has been established.

According to the website of the Fund, its objective is to offer grants for studies in feminism/gender and research contributing to activities for empowerment and support for women to realize gender equality and justice as soon as possible.  Furthermore, based on Ms. Takemura’s own philosophy, the Fund places priority on people and activities that would otherwise have no chance to apply for research funding as are not attached to a university.

I sincerely hope that her wish be linked with many people to bear fruitful results and express my farewell and thanks to Ms.TAKEMURA.

For more details about The Takemura Fund for Feminist Research for Gender Equality and Justice, visit the site below:
The deadline for applying for this year’s grant is June 18.

Original article on the WAN website (April 27, 2012)

Translated and adapted from the WAN website by FUKUOKA A.A.


WAN Symposium at University of Tokyo: Women's Networks and Media

Women’s Action Network (WAN) will host a symposium on women and media on May 13, 2012 at the University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus. 

In the development of women's movements in Japan, newsletters have played an important role since the 1970s. WAN is aiming to archive those newsletters electronically so that everyone everywhere can access the collective assets.

As a part of this ongoing project, the symposium will explore the relationship between women and information through focusing on various types of media from newsletters to the web. Questions to be discussed include: How the web and the print media can coexist; how solidarity among women beyond generational and geographic distances is possible; and what roles women’s newsletters can perform in the future.

WAN Symposium: Women’s Networks and Media: From Newsletters to the Web

Date: May 13, 2012 
Time: 1:30 – 5:00 pm
Place: University of Tokyo Hongo Campus (7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo)
          Faculty of Law and Letters Building 1, Lecture Hall 1
          * English campus map
Admission: 1.000 yen, 500 yen for students
                   * WAN members can participate free of charge.
Language: Japanese

Facilitator: Chizuko Ueno (Director of WAN, Sociologist)

Panelists and Presentation Titles:
Sumie Asatori (Jojo Kikaku), “Women are Everywhere”
Mikiyo Kano (Former Professor of Keiwa College), “Farewell to ‘Paper’ and the Postmodern”
Chieko Akaishi (Editor of Femin), “Possibilities of Newspaper as a Paper Medium”
Sonoko Azuma (Osaka University), “Five years of Shōjo: Bunka no Tomo (Girls: Friends of Culture)

Kaori Hayashi (University of Tokyo)
Nozomi Mizushima (University of Tokyo)

Sponsored by Women’s Action Network 
Head Office: 185-804, Shimomyokakujicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 604-0024
Tel/Fax: +81-75-708-2091
Tokyo Office:  1-11-16-2701, Nakacho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo Japan
Tel: +81-422-38-9770
Fax: +81-422-38-9862

Original Article on the WAN Website (April 18, 2012)
Translated and adapted by Aya Kitamura


Heaviness and Lightness of One Year:

Book Review by OKANO Yayo

The title of this book Challenged by 3.11: An Examination about People’s Experience was very impressive.  I was abroad on March 11 of 2011 and spent the following days in Kansai (western Japan). It so happens that I was also overseas as a student when Hanshin Awaji Earthquake hit the Kansai area in 1995, and I have experienced big earthquakes only from TV news and newspapers. 

Thus, I have yet to acquire the sense of what actually happened and what this actually entails for the people affected by them.  One could visit the devastated areas and attempt to meet with people personally to get a sense of how their lives were touched, but I rather hesitate to do so as I doubt that this would be sufficient to really understand what happened to them.

The alternative is to get a sense of their experience little by little through books. So, as the title of this book suggests, I feel challenged by the earthquake and the nuclear plant disaster to question how I am going to live in the post 3.11 Japanese society.

This book conveys the voices of people on the spot through two reports “From the Site of Tsunami” and “From the Site of Evacuation Camp.”  It also includes discussions among writers about Tsunami and nuclear power plant, followed by essays by those writers. 

Original article on the WAN website (April 13, 2012)

Translated and adapted from the WAN website by FUKUOKA A.A.

What Is the Point in Stressing “Women have Become Strong”?

Gender Structure Makes Nobody Happy:

Review of Feature Article “Women Alone Becoming Winners” in April Issue of the Shincho 45

by robierobie

One of the things that would make me feel most uncomfortable before is an expression like “women have become strong.”  Feminists in the good old days might loudly protest, “no more phony words when discrimination still persists!” 

I would not go that far but those expressions are just unpleasant.  They effectively take a few liberated women who have certainly become stronger and make it seem as if  they were representative of most women, and by so doing they serve to contain arguments about how the social structure forces gender norms.

On the other hand, women’s poverty is also talked about quite often.  Actually, it is a topic that should be discussed as a social issue.  It is nothing but a double standard, if a poor woman is made to take responsibility for her poverty and a strong woman is regarded as a problem  (even though I don’t think it is so obviously mentioned).

Judging from the nature of the media, I was somewhat prepared to dislike  these feature articles of the magazine Shincho 45, but  I found several articles written from the context that society has been “feminized” deserving attention and worthy of further discussion.  As some feminists are already suggesting, society is increasingly becoming reconstructed based on “feminine values” like diversity and sustainability, instead of “masculine values” such as competition or seeking to make clear-cut decisions between alternatives.  The observation in those articles that society is already changing in that direction is rather optimistic and quite different from the feministic view. 

In any case, I found the articles written by FURUICHI Noritoshi, YUYAMA Reiko, UDOU Yumiko, and KOSHI Naomi interesting to read as they incorporate a perspective of the social structure.  Nonetheless other articles in this magazine still admire strong women and feminine principles.  Some readers might be flattered without deeply thinking about it, but I would instantly think “ I’m not that strong and I’m not that feminine, either. “ At the same time, in terms of diversity of women, it is not advisable to emphasize those aspects only.

Based on reality, perhaps the writers should more cautiously say “happy women are increasing, without totally denying the positive aspects by emphasizing the remaining discrimination.

Original article on the WAN website (April 4, 2012)

Translated and adapted from the WAN website by FUKUOKA A.A.