Say No to Makoto Aida Winning the Ango Award: Report on the Symposium

Say No to Niigata City Giving the Ango Award to Mr. Makoto Aida
Geijutsu to Ieba Nandemo Yurusarerunoka Renrakukai (Liaison Committee of “Can anything be allowed under the name of art?”) reports here on the symposium Houtteokenai Dai 8-kai Ango-sho – Jinken no Shiten Kara (Unignorable the 8th Ango Awards – From the Human Rights Perspective) (on June 22, at Niigata City) as well as on the post-symposium situations.

[Report on the Symposium]
Mr. Makoto Aida is an artist known for his works containing violence against women such as “Dogs” series. This symposium was planned by the residents and non-residents of Niigata city who question the fact that Niigata City had given him the 8th Ango Award. The four panelists were Chieko Nishiyama (Lecturer of Aoyama Gakuin University), Tomomi Shibuya (Associate Professor of Tokyo Keizai University), Minori Kitahara (Representative of Love Peace Club), and Kazue Muta (Professor of Osaka University). The members of Niigata Gender Seminar took a role of MC. Just over 40 people attended the symposium including some from outside of Niigata city or prefecture such as Tokyo.
Unfortunately, none of the four panelists are Niigata City residents. Shibuya mentioned this in her opening statement telling how difficult it is for locals to criticize the Niigata City’s award-giving in an onymous manner and explaining about the barrier they face in expanding the Ango Award criticism locally.
Each panelist’s presentation was summarized below.
Titling Kensho: Dai 8-kai Ango-sho no Tsukurarekata/ Katararekata (Verification: How the 8th Ango Awards were Created and Told), Nishiyama presented the photos of street ads for Makoto Aida exhibitions, his works such as “Dogs” series, the outline of the Ango Awards, the information on the City’s website, etc. Then, she re-criticized the criticism against feminism found in the Niigata Nippo’s article reporting a symposium held by Niigata University of International and Information Studies. The local newspaper’s article had been posted just before the artist received the Award. She strongly insisted that Niigata City needed to withdraw the Ango Award from Mr. Aida as the City failed to inform their citizens of his works containing sexual violence and his language and behavior about his restroom peeping and yet praised his “way of being” as “dysphemism.”
Shibuya chose “Why is it a problem for a city to award an artist with tarnished image which makes people think that he may have committed sex crimes?” as her subject. Following this, she introduced Mr. Aida’s Twitter comment as he implied his restroom peeping in the past, “My image as an artist has been tarnished anyway. (Even if my past crime was revealed,) it would not hurt me at all.” She pointed out that the problem was not his behavior in the past but his current attitude to unapologetically take whatever he may have done into his own image as an artist. She also pleaded that one of the roles of government is to promote the state in which anyone is recognized to have equal freedom and dignity, and the award by Niigata City would simply abandon the role. She strongly appealed not to become accustomed to acceptance and it was the time to raise a voice of anger.
Kitahara criticized, in association with the works of Makoto Aida, the current situation of Japan with a serious amount of Lolita-complex products distributed. Lolita-complex goods are top-ranked in the sales of Amazon’s adult products. In child star video, girls of around 5 years old or older appear in a bathing suit and are consumed sexually. Bathing suit events of elementary and junior high school girls are held every week in Akihabara. As the Japanese society is tolerant to such male sexual desire, criticism against pornography raised from the women’s side, similar to the criticism against Makoto Aida, tends to be neutralized. She concluded that she wanted to establish a network in which women could raise their voice and discuss pornography.
The last presentation was brought by Muta titled “Expression of Sexual Violence and Sexual Crimes that Silence Women.” By explaining the social structure in which women are forced to be silent in a misogynistic society in case of pornography or sexual crimes, she indicated asymmetricity that “freedom from sexual taboos” has always been established on a unilateral basis by using the sex of women. She proposed four things we could do or we wanted to do: 1) Believe in what you think “normal”; 2) Look at artworks closely and see the substance of them; 3) Look at artworks from a female point of view; and 4) Show how you feel.
Because the symposium covered an ongoing issue in the local community, close to 20 quality feedbacks and questions (equal to roughly half of the attendees) were given and highly concentrated Q&A continued. Finally the symposium came to a close and the place of discussion was changed and brought into a post-symposium party.

[Post-symposium Report: The Niigata Nippo news, the comments of Niigata City Bunka Seisaku-ka (Cultural Policy Department) and Niigata City Mayor]
The Niigata Nippo (morning edition on June 26) reported on this symposium titled “Niigata City’s selection for the Ango Awards received criticism at the symposium concerning affirmation of sexual violence.” As the Committee members, Nishiyama and Shibuya, as described above, questioned Mr. Aida’s taking restroom peeping into his own image as an artist and accused the City government’s awarding his way of being. However, the Niigata Nippo’s article deleted this point of argument and did not even mention the fact that Shibuya was one of the panelists. It reported the citizens on this symposium focusing only on the artworks. This is an apparent information control. In the end of this article, it introduced the worn-out comment issued by the City’s Cultural Policy Department; “the selection committee highly evaluated (Mr. Aida’s) critical spirit as he accurately looks at today.”
Furthermore, Niigata City Mayor said at a press conference held on June 27 on the Ango Award criticism at the June 22 symposium, “With being an outlaw as one of the subjects, various conflicts cannot be avoided from happening. (The critical voices) will not affect the future selection for the Awards.” “I sincerely listen to criticism. I will not argue with the selection committee whomever they choose.”The Niigata Nippo morning edition on June 28
For the last time, I would repeat this as many times as I could, but our point regarding Mr. Aida’s restroom peeping (in fact, female genitals peeping) is not “Don’t award someone who peeped into restrooms in the past.” We are saying, “the city must not praise as an outlaw or award the artist who implies his own sexual criminal experience of women’s restroom peeping, takes it into part of his “artist image” claiming it would not hurt him at all, and continues to utilize it as he publishes a restroom peeping novel.
Currently, sexual discrimination and sexual harassment by taunting at assemblies are being called into question with severity. Similarly, sexual discrimination and sexual harassment by giving an award should never be allowed. The dispute in Niigata will heat up from this point on.

Original Article on the WAN Website: August 13, 2014
Translated by Kumiko Moriya


Victory for plaintiffs: the Fukui District Court’s ruling on the suspension of operations at No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear power plant

Victory for plaintiffs: the Fukui District Court’s ruling on the suspension of operations at No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear power plant

Here is an on-the-spot report. 

[News Flash] 
Victory for plaintiffs: the Fukui District Court’s ruling on the suspension of operations at No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear power plant. 

The Fukui District Court delivered a sentence at 3 pm on May 21, 2014 on the suspension of operations at No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear power plant at 3 pm on May 21, 2014.  

President Judge Hideaki Higuchi ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. not to restart the two reactors, which is a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.   

For more details about the lawsuit, please check:
http://adieunpp.com   (Japanese only), and
(English available. Outline of Judgement on Claim for Injunction on Operation of No. 3 and No. 4 Units at Ohi Nuclear Power Plant). 

For your reference, please read:
(Fukui court deals setback to Kansai Electric bid to restart Oi reactors, The Asahi Shimbun, May 21, 2014).

Reported by Harumi Kondaiji


Summaly translated by Shin Yamaaki


Join us!: How to become a WAN member (Revised)

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CFP: Asian Association of Women's Studies

Asian Association of Women’s Studies
[Phase 2] Korea-ASEAN Cooperation Project (KACP) on Education and Exchange Program for Young Scholars in Women’s Studies

  • Theme:     “Uncovering Korea-ASEAN Women’s Lived Realities through Feminist Research”
  • Date:         29-31 October 2014
  • Venue:      Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia
  • Host:           Asian Association of Women’s Studies (AAWS)
  • Organizers: Women’s Development Research Centre (KANITA), Universiti Sains Malaysia; Asian Center for Women’s Studies (ACWS), Ewha Womans University
  • Cooperating Agencies:  Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); ASEAN University Network (AUN)

This project is supported by the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund.

The Asian Association of Women’s Studies (AAWS) invites participants to the Korea-ASEANCooperation Project (KACP) on Education and Exchange Program for Young Scholars in Women’s Studies, which will be held at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia on October 29-31, 2014. USM is popularly known as “university in a garden” and Penang has been designated as a UNESCO heritage site because of its rich tradition and culture.

Objectives of the KACP
In coordination with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN University Network (AUN), AAWS designs and conducts Phase 2 of the KACP with the theme “Uncovering Korea-ASEAN Women’s Lived Realities through Feminist Research” in order to:
  1. empower young women scholars and disseminate Women's Studies to institutions where Women's Studies is not well established as yet;
  2. understand the lives and experiences of women, share information, and strengthen the network of women scholars;
  3. develop and practice academic and social leadership in the program; and
  4. promote collaborative research and publication on issues concerning women’s/gender studies and leadership.
Eligibility to Apply and Participate
  1. Identity as young women scholars in Korea and in ten ASEAN member states (i.e., Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). Young scholars refer to the doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, research fellows, junior teaching staff, and the like.
  2. Current affiliation with a university or a research institute
  3. Experience in conducting research or feminist research on women
  4. Holder of passport that is valid for at least 6 months

Participant Selection
Participant selection will be based on the evaluation results of these required documents:
  1. Application Form (downloadable from http://www.aaws07.org) = 50%
  2. Abstract (downloadable from http://www.aaws07.org) = 50%
Note: The Application Form and Abstract should be sent to the official email of KACP Phase 2: kacp014@gmail.com on or before the deadline of application on August 11, 2014 at 12 midnight (time in Malaysia).

Guidelines for Abstract Submission
Abstracts should deal with any of the following general themes in the contexts of Korea and ten ASEAN member states:
a.Women’s Education and Empowerment
b.Feminist Research and Ethical Issues
c.Women’s Activism and Scholarly Work
d.Women’s Creative Leadership
  1. Abstracts should be limited to 300 words only.
  2. All submitted abstracts will be reviewed. Results will be announced on August 29, 2014.
  3. All authors of accepted abstracts will automatically become presenters and participants during the International Workshop on Women’s Studies on October 29-31, 2014 at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia.
  4. All authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to submit their full papers on or before September 29, 2014. Failure to submit the full paper on the deadline will mean a cancellation of participation to the international workshop.

Guidelines for Full Paper Submission
  1. With a minimum of 10 pages and a maximum of 12, full papers should be based on the accepted submitted abstracts.
  2. All papers may be written as case studies, comparative researches, investigative papers or narratives.
  3. All authors of submitted full papers should be aware of the danger of plagiarism. Proper citation and acknowledgement of sources should be observed.
  4. More specific technical requirements will be given to accepted abstracts only.
  5. All authors of submitted full papers may be asked to refine or develop further their work for possible publication.

All KACP participants will be given full financial support for a roundtrip transportation (air/land/water), accommodation, and meals for three days (October 29-31, 2014).

Important Dates
11 Aug 2014      : Deadline for Application & Abstract Submission
29 Aug 2014      : Notification of Acceptance/Participant Selection
29 Sep 2014       : Final Submission of Full Papers
15 Oct 2014       : Final Submission of Powerpoint (ppt) Presentation File

For more related information and inquiries regarding the KACP, please visit the website, email, or call the organizers at the addresses provided below.

 Asian Association of Women’s Studies (AAWS)
Website: www.aaws07.org

Women's Development Research Centre (KANITA)
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 USM, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel: +604 653 3436/3445/3433
Fax: +604 656 6379
Website: http://kanita.usm.my

Asian Center for Women’s Studies
Ewha Womans University
11-1 Daehyun-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-750, Korea
Tel. +82.2.3277.2964
Website: http://acws.ewha.ac.kr

[Phase 2] KACP Official Email:

Posted by Eiko Saeki