IGWS Newsletter Vol. 42

  • Report of the 32nd IGWS Seminar
  • Students’ Feedback on the 32nd IGWS Seminar
  • Report on the special educational seminar, “Nijiiro Chirashizushi Part. 1.5”
  • Essays from Alumni “A child’s development is equal to parents’ growth”
  • Reflections on gender from my own experience
  • Announcement of the 33rd IGWS Seminar

Report of the 32nd IGWS Seminar: “Gender and Constitutionalism”
Speaker: Prof. Yayo Okano (Professor at Doshisha University Graduate School of Global Studies)

 On June 6 and 7, IGWS held a lecture in honor of Prof. Yayo Okano, a scholar of politics and political thought. Based on the study of feminism, Prof. Okano’s remarks exert a significant influence not only on contemporary sociology, but also on debates about the pros and cons concerning reinterpreting constitutional provisions about national security and Japan’s right to maintain a self-defense force.

 First, Prof. Okano mentioned American society after September 11, 2001 to start her speech about the dual needs of maintaining national security and an ethics of care. The “ethics of care” is a theory proposed by Carol Gilligan, which is based on a premise that each person has her/his own unique value as an individual and is vulnerable in the sense that she/he depends on others. On the other hand, the current national security issue is based on a premise that “anxiety is to be removed, danger is to be defused,” which implies that violence is necessary to end further violence. Needless to say, this way of thinking shows a lack of concern of those harmed by violence.

 Prof. Okano pointed out how modern societies and the national security issue is formed from this kind of chain of violence. The ethics of care criticizes the image of individuality delineated in modern society and the violence used in nation-states.

 The ethics of care is built on a premise of nonviolence and not harming others. Prof. Okano finished her speech by quoting Feminist Judith Butler, “from an ethical point of view, we have a responsibility to stop spreading violence and to find the wisdom and way to stop this chain of violence and establish an international system.”

Report on the special educational seminar, “Nijiiro Chirashizushi, Part. 1.5”

 On August 11, IGWS held a one-day seminar called “Nijiiro Chirashizushi Part 1.5.” It involved the screening of a documentary movie The Case Against 8, and a round-table discussion on the subject, “LGBT issues in Japanese schools.” The seminar name, “Nijiiro Chirashizushi” (which means “Rainbow-colored sushi in Japanese) is derived from a play performed in 2013 as part of our research projects: an enlightenment program through theater with the theme of “living together with diversity.”

 Prof. Tatsuo Sumida of the Department of Creation and Representation at ASU served as supervisor of the project in 2013. Professor Sumida met with sixteen former undergraduate and graduate students who responded to his request. They had fruitful discussions about the success of the project and their firsthand experience with “living together with diversity.” In a round-table discussion format with a question and answer session, they discussed the three subjects of heterosexuality, prejudice and bullying.

Essays from Alumni ““A Child’s Development is equal to Parents’ Growth”

 Ms. Sachiko Joen, who completed the Graduate School of Psychology course at ASU in 2010, wrote about her current job concerning the relationship between the development of children and the growth of parents.

 I returned to university as an employed non-traditional student and finished graduate school five years ago. Now I am working as a clinical psychotherapist which involves not only consulting in public health centers or schools but also giving orientation sessions or lectures in companies. In addition, I started and continue to run a business to support children’s development. “Nobihapi-en” in Inuyama is a medical and educational institution for children with learning difficulties.

 Mothers tend to blame themselves for their children’s learning difficulties. It can trigger very serious problems, such as depression or child abuse. Therefore, I would like their husbands to support their wives. A child’s development does not only result from a mother’s support. The involvement of the father, other family members, local community, and schools is indispensable.

 Mothers and fathers develop as parents as their children encounter new experiences. What we need to do is make a society where parents can ask for the support and cooperation of others to raise their children.

 Now I feel so happy to be able to use what I learned at ASU in a job which enables me to see children’s development and unlimited potential.

Reflections on gender from my own experience

 Mr. Mizuho Takeuchi, associate professor of our Department of Literature, wrote an essay about his first name.

 From my childhood, my given name has been mistaken for a female’s. The original definition of “Mizuho” is “a young, ripe rice plant” and is not gendered masculine or feminine. But since people generally regard “Mizuho” as a female name, this tendency reflects a gender bias.

 During the so-called adolescent, I actually felt bad about being mistaken for a girl. I felt that it was too troublesome to correct others’ mistakes each time. I felt a sense of discomfort from the gap between my name and gender identity as a boy. My attitude about my name changed when I left home to enter college and interacted with many strangers. I had to give an explanation each time they made the mistake about my name. I changed my attitude and regarded these situations as a good opportunity to express myself.

 We often experience a gap between others’ perceptions of us and our self-image. Although these experiences can be difficult, they are also a good time to more fully express ourselves and increase our self-awareness. Just for making me aware of these matters, I currently feel gratitude for this troublesome name of mine.

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