Survey with 50 LBTs published

Gay Japan News publishes interviews with 50 LBT people regarding violence based on sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender expressions from the points of view of lesbians, bi-sexual women, and transgenders

THE LBTs, or lesbians, bisexuals, and transgnders, experience violence on a daily basis in various situations because of their sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender expressions. Of the 50 people who have been interviewed, 31 people (62%) received psychological violence, 14 (28%) people suffered physical violence, and 28 people (56%) experienced sexual violence. The majority of these victims have come to think of committing suicide. Experts tend to avert providing assistance because of they fear prejudice and lack of understanding. As a result, even when the victims are connected to experts, this does not mean they can receive considerate and effective support.

Gay Japan News, together with International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, an NGO, and groups from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Pakistan conducted interviews with 50 LBT people ranging between 22 and 58 years old about their experience of being violence victims in Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kansai, Chugoku, and Kyushu areas. The result has been complied in a booklet.

The booklet also includes suggestions for policies to protect people from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender expressions. I hope that you will be interested in knowing that violence against LBT exists, and understand the status-quo and background, which this survey has revealed.

The document can be downloaded from here. (You need to get a password. The given survey is in Japanese. The website has a limited English section.)


Translated by Naoko Hirose
Original article: http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=8252


Médée in Operas: Misogyny in Modern Europe

The following is a translation of Rinko Umeno’s introduction of her own book Médée in Operas: Misogyny in Modern Europe.

I was a student studying vocal music at Tokyo University of the Arts when the movement of women’s liberation and student power was extremely active. The university president’s office was occupied. The movement was lead mainly by students of the faculty of fine arts, a part of the All-Campus Joint Struggle Committee. Although I was a student of the faculty of music, I remember that a few other students and I slept in the corner of the president’s office. Around that time, I also experienced a bitter relationship with a man and unreasonable discrimination against women in the movement itself.

After the All-Campus Joint Struggle Committee was defeated, I met many women who had joined the women’s liberation movement and shared sadness and pain with each other. It was a valuable experience. After that, I became a wife and a mother.  While I continued to be a musician, I had a chance to run for an election for the Yokohama City assembly councilor and won the election in 1995. After I served 2 two terms for eight years, I ran for an election to Kanagawa Prefectural assembly but I was defeated in the election.
When I was shocked and depressed, my daughter, who was a student of Yokohama National University, encouraged me to go and listen to university lectures, saying “university is an interesting place. Why don’t you audit a lecture?” Since I had had all the time in my hands all the sudden, I attended “A History of Islamic Civilization,” a course given by a German professor. It was two years after 9.11 had occurred. I thought I could not understand the world without knowing Islam. The lecture was so interesting that I officially entered the university at the post graduate level next year.

It took 8 years and a half to complete the courses and to get a doctoral degree in 2012. During this time, I studied in France for three years in total and went through a lot of adventures. The book, Médée in Operas: Misogyny in Modern Europe, is based on my doctoral thesis.

For many years I had thought about poverty, war, violence, and discrimination against women. I came to think that I could get a better grip of accumulating issues of present-day society if I became familiar with the origin of European civilization which formed the base of the present day. Opera was an emerging art form that was born in the beginning of the modern times, and thus it has the strong characteristic of the modern times. In operas, we often see longing for a woman and violence which includes murder, suicide, and rape. These show two sides of misogyny (sexism), an undercurrent of a mentality of modern Europe.

This book analyzed four opera librettos written in the era of Louis XIV, which feature Médée, a woman in Greek mythology. Médée appeared in operas and plays many times from the 16th century to the 17th century. It was during an absolute monarch characterized by a rigid class system and patriarchal society that Médée was represented as a witch. After deserted by her husband, she murdered her husband’s lover, a king who is the father of the lover, and her own two sons with the same husband for revenge. Why in that era was the story dramatized many times? Through analysis, I looked at the essence of misogynic characteristics of modern Europe. As a result, this book was born. (Author: Rinko Umeno)

Médée in Operas: Misogyny in Modern Europe
Published on November 10th, 2014
Publisher: Suiseisha
Telephone: 0356898410
Ask the publisher or the author about the book.

Translated by Atsuko Ishikawa


Why don't we show our desire for a nuclear-free future through everyday shopping?

★The story behind the birth of Biwa Tea from Iwai-shima Island
There is an island called Iwai-shima in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Since the plan to build a nuclear power plant on its opposite shore was made public in 1982, about 90% of the residents in this heart-shaped island have been against the construction. 

Women in the island started sanchoku group in order to strengthen the economic basis (foundation?) of the community so that they would not need to rely upon the revenue promised with the construction of the power plant.  

Iwai-shima Island is known as the producer of the fruit called biwa. Residents of the island have long made make tea with its leaves. Based on this experience, the women of the island decided to sell organic biwa tea, and this tea came to be known by many, through the support of women in different parts of the country. 

Biwa Tea Today
30 years later, Biwa Tea became a very popular product, one that is often sold out. 

Today, Ikuko is sharing the knowledge and skills of tea making with Atomi Okamoto and people around her. Atomi moved to the island from Tokyo right after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Atomi says "I just wanted to return their kindness by my help, but it has become my life-work." She continues, with her eyes sparkling, "I am attracted to this because I can work while talking with Ikuko about the meaning of the group. I just love the work of biwa tea making. It's not repetitive. It is so much fun to make it based on changes in humidity, etc."

How is Biwa Tea made?
You can find detailed descriptions of how to make biwa tea at Atomo's website (http://hartland.jp), but here I would like to briefly introduce it to you: 
1)Collect the leaves that absorbed the sunlight.
2)Wash the leaves and cut them into small pieces.
3)Naturally ferment the leaves.
4)Dry the fermented leaves in the sun.
5)Roast the leaves.
6)Place the tea in the package.

How to drink Biwa Tea
To drink the tea, you need to boil one table spoonful of tea (4g) in boiling water (about 1,800cc) for ten minutes. You can enhance the color and the taste by leaving the leaves in the water after stopping the heat. 
Anyone, including small children and pregnant women, can enjoy this non-caffeinated tea. It is also believed to be effective for sore throats, coughing, skin problems, and swelling. 
You can find more discussions on biwa tea here as well (http://wan.or.jp/market/?p=1027) (Japanese).

How to order
3 percent of the proceeds will be used for the movement against the construction of the nuclear power plant. By purchasing this biwa tea, we can deliver our support, appreciation, and respect to the people in Iwai-shima Island, who continue to fight against the construction of the plant.
To purchase, click here (http://hartland.jp). Click "How to Order."
100g  680yen (incl. tax)
50g  400 yen (incl. tax)

Why don't we show our desire for a nuclear-free future through everyday shopping? 

Original text in Japanese by Shin Yamaaki
Adapted and translated by Eiko Saeki