IGWS Newsletter Vol. 22

  • Report on the 15th IGWS Seminar at Aichi Shukutoku University
  • Description of feelings of Seminar participants
  • Structural Space Theory and Gender
  • Visit to Women’s Studies Center at Chiang Mai University
  • Report on Asian Women’s Forum
  • Notice of Forthcoming Publications
  • Information of the 16th IGWS Seminar
  • Open Lectures in the Second Semester, 2006, Related to Gender & Women Studies

The 15th Seminar “Hope or Issues of Japanese Gender Inferred from the Animated Cartoons” Directed by Miyazaki Hayao
---- by Professor Fujimori Kayoko (Momoyama Gakuin University)

 In the popular animation movies directed by Miyazaki Hayao, all the main characters are girls. In addition, the girls are considered saviors. In fact, the image of pretty girls as the “saviors” or the “fighters” in Miyazaki’s movies appears to symbolize all Japanese women.

 First of all, there are not many “princesses saved by everything” but “princesses saving for everything” (‘Yuzuru,’ ‘Yukionna,’ ‘Anju to Zushioh,’ and so forth). Therefore, the image of pretty fighting girls is not considered as a novel symbol developed by Miyazaki’s concept but as a female symbol existing from time out of mind. Since the gender concepts were included in Miyazaki’s movies, the movies have won popularity.

 The essence of the “girls sacrificing for everyone and everything” is originates in our reverence for “eternal motherhood” which indicates “Goddess faith” or “Earth mother faith.” The fighting pretty girls in modern Japanese animations movies appear to be a modern interpretation of “Goddess faith” or “Earth mother faith” derived from animism. Love to do a great deal for everyone is ruled by the animistic “Goddess faith” rooted strongly in the Japanese mind. Japanese women have been expected to observe the rule and are therefore considered more moralistic individuals than Japanese men.

 However current Japanese men and women, who are in the false parent-child relationship between “mothers” and “dependent but haughty boys, cannot produce the equal love relationship between men and women. The reason is that Japanese women are not challenged to live their own lives and express their own feeling and sedires.

Development of Gender and Women Studies to Form Humanity
---- by Ms. Yazawa Sumiko

 In 1962, “General Course for Women Studies” was lectured for the first time at Tokyo Women University. The lecture focused on “bringing up the women to grope for the way of living as an independent person and playing an active part in society.” The long-term educational system of “General Course for Women Studies” was authorized the education to attach importance to gender and women studies -the fundamental education to promote women’s independence and career- as the “liberal arts.” Today, Gender and Women Studies as the “liberal arts,” which is lectured at university, has been indispensable for the promotion of flexible thinking including the meaning of intelligent and well-balanced idea. In our future, we suggest that we accept the concept of male students and that we foster the specialist of gender and women studies as the “liberal arts.”

Structural Space Theory and Gender ---- by Professor Tarui Yozo (Aichi Shukutoku University)

 A famous example of structural space theory is the clear distinction between men and women sheepherders of Central Asia based on the order of camping territory. According to a 19th century report about the Altai people by the folklorist W. Radloff, from the entrance of the dome-shaped tents, the women’s room was located on the right side, while men’s room was located on the left side. It seems that the order of the Altai people is similar to that of the people camping in Central Asia and Mongolia. The items to cook meals, process raw milk, sew cloths, and so forth are located on the right side (the women’s room), whereas the tools for hunting are on the left side (the men’s room). Furthermore, the report described that the order is strictly kept, even when visitors are seated in the tent. This is also similar to the space for guest’s seats in a Japanese wedding ceremony. When I went on a trip to Mongolia and visited a Mongolian tent, I discovered that the order was no longer kept. The women’s room on the right side has been replaced by a guest room where I slept. The parents slept in the center of the tent, and their eight-year child on the left side. Therefore, in the current Mongolian tent, since there is not a distinction between men’s and women’s spaces, a doubt that the previous report by an European folklorist was superficial was induced. That is, it seems that the distinction between men and women spaces simply depends on differences between work. I felt that in my camping experience in Mongolia, the Mongolian lifestyle in the tent was not applied to the order of camping territory by gender.

Visit to the Women’s Studies Center at Chiang Mai University ---- by Professor Hirabayashi Mitoko (Aichi Shukutoku University)

 I visited the department of sociology at Chiang Mai University in Thailand with Professor Minagawa of Aichi Shukutoku University. Our purpose of visiting there was the presentation of special lectures in the Department of Sociology. Since we knew that there was a Women’s Studies Center at Chiang Mai University, we took time to visit it.

 The foundation of the Women’s Studies Center went back to the 1980’s when the teaching staff in the Department of Sociology had made a women-studies program. The first women’s studies center in Thailand was opened in 1993 and was was independent of the Department of Sociology. The Center focused on both research and enlightened activities. The Center began Thailands first master’s degree program in women’s studies.

 The current staff in the Women’s Studies Center is engaged in the gender education of university students. They also presented practical information about the feminism research training for NGO workers, and provide legal training for feminine leaders working in northeastern district in which many poor people live, the Women’s Studies Center is involved in researching the AIDS problems arising from prostitution.

 We were astonished that the Center had copies of 13,000 women’s studies newspapers published in Thailand and around the world, concerning the AIDS problems in the northeastern district. We could get some publication issues by the Women’s Studies Center. You can peruse them at IGWS.

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