Silly Grins

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gender Equality 101: Not in Japan

Women Are Not Equal Here

No. Not even close. 

But better than before.

(image to be added in a few days) 

Now, keeping anyone’s attention for more than a paragraph into a lecture or thesis takes a lot of work. Especially for those of us not familiar with or smitten by a certain slice of the past... history, culture, & wutever.

The mind is its own place, 
and in itself can make a heaven of hell, 
a hell of heaven..

 So, we will keep this short for a number of reasons. Let’s get down to it. 

She was twenty-two years old in a room full of men, mostly in their forties. They had no idea how good she was. I didn’t either. Not till just a few days ago (though I'd read about her before). 

Two parts of one constitution. 

Two small but crucial parts of a big ass constitution that a group of about two dozen folks were given a little more than a week to come up with. 

Recent events have led to the rediscovery of someone previously overlooked in one of those history books. More or less, at this point in time, 'JD' tends to be the be all and end all in the world of what gets written and lectured about regarding Japan around WWII and the occupation.Well, almost


Watching the  nearly hour and a half long video is not necessary to get the point of this post, though I would recommend listening to it radio-style if you have the time, maybe while making dinner, working on something or whatever.

From 1:08, in first answer in the Q&A portion, she responds to a question regarding the current situation with regard to rights. A students asks, "Where do you think women's rights stand now...?"

Go to 1:08:32...

and listen. 
(2 minutes is long enough)

Just ‘cause somebody loses doesn’t mean they stop playin’.
And the boys are back. 
Can't say she didn't warm us. Of the evil one.

The more I see pleasures about me, 
so much more I feel torment within me…

And his minions.


Other stuff I wanted to add, to kind of flesh this thing out, but I didn't have time or access to my beloved books, Dower's and Beech's to be specific. There's an image from Embracing Defeat and a passage from Tokyo and Points East that makes shit like this vaguely interesting even in this day and age, year two-thousand-and-whenever or the twenty-fifth year of the current emperor's um... Heisei 25. 

And, just to show why I'm not waiting any longer to go ahead and post, look here:

For some reason, I really thought I had time to get this out before she kicked the champagne bucket. More older people do die in the winter. Which has lit a fire under my ass for a number of reasons. Regret ain't something that is necessarily fun to live with; something that is good to minimize while gettin' though that four letter word anybody only ever does once. 

Relevant info from John and Keyes will be provided in part II. 
And no, I am not a professor. 

And, yes, I just happened to have spent the last three days without food.

To be continued...


  1. The way that the lady described the situation sounded to me like their general outlook towards everything, its just "how can she do it, she is a woman not a man" instead of "There is no way they can do that. They aren't japanese." That's very surprising to hear that a young woman from the US helped write the japanese constitution.

    The other issue about the oldest child's wife taking care of the parents is somewhat an average situation around the world, except its just delegated to one of the children and then his/her family is the one that takes the old people in. I went out with a lady where I was expected to look forward to that at some point. Not fun. I told my Dad outright that he is going to get a nurse and not a room in my house.

    1. "She is a woman" - yep. In a nutshell. Part II will add to that via Beech.

      By the way some stuff comes across, the feudal militarist nation was kind of bothered by the fact that a twenty-two year old whatever was was given any kind of authority. Though her inclusion in the process was not meant as an insult, that doesn't mean her participation wasn't taken that way. Who knows.

      A "they aren't Japanese"-ish part of the constitution story does come up, but in a "Hey, remember that you just lost... and it's not like we kind of aren't bending over backward considering the circumstances" kind of way.

      Beate was actually from Austria, raised in Tokyo, educated by Nazis, then Americans... interesting story (for me anyway).

      As far as taking care of parents when they get older is concerned, I'm not averse to the idea. Especially if the live in nurse we can somehow afford is hot.

  2. I hope by now you are feeling better and can eat.

    Your post is the first time I have learned about Beate. Hearing her reflect on reasons she didn't publicly speak about contributing to the Japanese Constitution is interesting. She was wise enough at her young age to draft up something that was brilliant yet feared talking about writing it because of her age and gender(after it was declassified of course). I am glad she finally spoke about her contribution and the QnA session was good (the sound was a bit lacking in some parts though). I am sure there are Japanese out there that consider her contribution a slap in the face to Japanese culture... you know being a woman, 22 at the time and not Japanese. I think it was wise to include a woman in the drafting of their constitution.

    I also went on a jolly little trip to the site where the book on Hirohito is talked about. I never leave your blog without learning something new or being pointed in the direction to yearn for knowledge. Thanks

    Also nice music choice on your Dec 21st post.

    1. Thank you. My appetite is back.

      Beate...I had actually working on the post for a few days and had no idea she was dying. Part of what triggered the mental link was reading bits and pieces of Alice H. Cook's autobiography. Cook doesn't mention Gordon, but she does briefly mention spending time in Japan on a a Fulbright scholarship. As well as the abysmal rights of women in the workforce. That was forty years ago. On a practical level, not much has changed.

      The Hirohito as an avid biologist thing... there's still a lot there that may be unearthed some day. Googled... wow, my suspicions were confirmed. He had to know. Forth paragraph under the the photo of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases:
      In November of the same year that the school moved to Touyama, the Emperor (Hirohito) came to visit the new campus. Dr. Koizumi, the highest-ranked doctor at Army Medical school, personally guided the Emperor through the (731-affiliated) IDPRR. And later, on December 24th, he visited the Imperial Palace and respectfully asked the Emperor about starting a second research center to study the disease-communicating properties of various types of clothing. The following year, a monument commemorating the Emperor’s visit was erected next to the IDPRR. The monument remains standing to this day, right next to the monument for the victims of the IDPRR.

      I think it was in one of the Unit 731 books I read, there was a part about special Italian blown glass that was used for human specimens. Now, thanks to Toyo Ishii and others, there is still some kind of movement.

      Now, it's not so much as the fact that this stuff happened, it's the current lack of cooperation and obfuscation that is worrisome. In this day and age, covering things up is more difficult thanks to dissemination technology. At the same time, it seems like whoever can keep the masses distracted wins.

      Back to Gordon. Yeah, she definitely was at least a slap in the face (in not a knee to the groin) to the feudal militarists who were tearing this place apart. Like she said, in historical terms, 60 years is a drop in the bucket.

      Thanks for reading as well as for your feedback.