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The #MeToo movement swiftly spread from America to the UK in October 2017, with thousands of women sharing their stories of sexual abuse or misconduct on social media. The movement’s impact spread beyond the internet, with prominent examples including allegations of sexual misconduct levelled at government figures, leading to the resignation of UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, accusations of misconduct within the aid industry, and the President’s Club scandal.
Although initially slower to take off, the #MeToo movement has also gained momentum in Japan. The movement has given women a platform enabling their voices to be heard, leading to more women speaking out about sexual misconduct. As in the UK, members of the government have been implicated, most notably with the resignation of Junichi Fukuda, the top bureaucrat at the Ministry of Finance, after he was accused of sexual harassment by a journalist.
In this seminar, the impact of #MeToo will be discussed in relation to the UK and Japan. The speakers will outline the implications and effects the movement has had across each society and the extent to which it may impact government policies and legislation, as well as the challenges that the movement faces.
About the contributors
Sophie Walker is Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, Britain’s first feminist political party which campaigns for women’s rights. In 2016 she ran for London Mayor on a manifesto to close the city’s 23% pay gap and lack of affordable childcare, winning 1 in every 20 votes cast. In 2017 she contested the seat of the ‘men’s rights activist’ MP Philip Davies after he filibustered a bill to end violence against women and girls, and helped to halve his constituency majority. Sophie recently won 90% of the vote in the Party’s first leadership election. Previously a Reuters correspondent for 20 years, Sophie came to politics via disability campaigning and activism and is an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and for IncludeMEtoo.
Asako Osaki, Visiting Professor at Kwansei Gakuin University, School of Policy Studies, is a specialist in gender issues. She began her career at the United Nations Development Programme, focusing on the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Since returning to Tokyo, she has been active in mainstreaming gender in Japan’s development assistance policies and programmes, as well as in addressing domestic gender issues such as poverty and violence, working with the Government, NGOs and research institutions. At the APEC Women and Economy forum 2014, Osaki presented on the “Economic Empowerment of Women in the Post-Disaster Reconstruction Process”. She also participated in the 2016 W20 (G20 Women’s Forum) as part of the Government of Japan’s official delegation.
Shiori Ito is a freelance journalist, documentary film-maker and author of Black Box (2017). Her work is mainly distributed overseas, and has been shown on international media outlets such as Al Jazeera and Reuters. At the 2018 New York Festivals, an international media competition, Ito won two silver medals in the Social Issues and Sports Documentary categories. She also won the 7th Free Press Association Award Grand Prize in Japan for Black Box. This book is about her own investigation and experience of Japan’s sexual violence situation. Ito is currently working on a BBC documentary about sexual violence in Japan.
Dan Damon (Chair) is a BBC journalist and radio broadcaster who presents World Update for the BBC World Service. Damon joined the BBC in 1974 as a technical operator for radio news. His move into journalism took place in 1982 with a nightly phone-in on LBC. In 1988, he moved to Hungary with his camerawoman wife, Siân, to report on liberation and street protest in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania and the former Soviet Union. Damon also reported from conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia, Baghdad during the first Gulf War, and Afghanistan. He then returned to the BBC in 1995 to work as a presenter and reporter for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. In 2003 Damon became the main presenter of World Update on the BBC World Service.
Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle (entrance facing Regent’s Park), London NW1 4QP
Free, booking essential.
Admission free, Booking essential
Despite the Japanese government’s commitment to creating a “society where all women shine”, progress in achieving this is still limited. In 2017, Japan dropped to 114th place on the Global Gender Gap Index produced by the World Economic Forum, evidencing the magnitude of the problem in this country. Whilst the UK was ranked 15th, there are still several areas in which the country still performs poorly, such as the gender pay gap. In this seminar, gender advisors to governments in both Japan and the UK will discuss the current status of the gender gap in each country, what policies and programmes have been implemented, what challenges still exist and future recommendations. A policy analyst from the OECD will then present a wider perspective of the gender gap situation in OECD countries and their tendencies.
The event is organised in cooperation with the Department of Law, LSE and will take place at the Thai Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics.
The Penal Code of Japan: Sex without consent isn’t rape?
Talk event with the first incorporated sexual assault survivors’ organisation in Japan
In June last year (2017), the penal code regarding sex crimes in Japan was reformed significantly for the first time in 110 years. While this is a big step forward, many problems remain. For example, the reform did not abolish the clause that requires the use of “violence or intimidation” by the perpetrator – and the need for the victim to present evidence that they resisted fiercely – to establish a rape case. The concept of ‘consent’ remains absent from the law. Moreover, the statue of limitation prevents those who were sexually abused as children from pressing charges due to the statute of limitation; and it remains difficult to get sexual violence between partners recognised as a crime.
Spring, the first incorporated sexual assault survivors’ organisation in Japan, is working hard to resolve these issues. They started Believe Campaign in 2016 with three other organisations – Tomorrow Girls Troop, Shiawase Namida, and Chabujo – to push for the reform, lobbying politicians, organising public events, and starting online campaigns and a petition (which was signed by over 50,000 people before they handed it over to the Minister of Justice). Their campaign was covered by major Japanese media outlets on several occasions.
Together with a group of journalists, clinical psychologists, and lawyers, members of Spring are visiting the UK to get some inspiration about how things can be improved in Japan in terms of legal reform, support systems, and social change. We’ve decided to hold this event to introduce Spring’s work in Japan, to talk about the reality of sexual violence in Japan and the people working hard trying to change it, and to exchange ideas about how to realise a better world for everyone including survivors of sexual violence.
Everyone is welcome. For more details and to reserve your seat, please visit this link: http://spring-uk-1107.eventbrite.co.uk
No booking required – just turn up on the day!
An afternoon of Japanese live music, family activities and Japanese food to celebrate the regeneration of the Japanese garden in Hammersmith Park! Expect taiko drumming, ramen, and family friendly activities such as origami and calligraphy, alongside much more! Co-organised by the Japan Society and the Embassy of Japan.
The day will end with two very special performances by contemporary Japanese artists Ichi and Hatis Noit. We hope you can join us for what is bound to be a fantastic summer celebration of all things Japanese!
Why we’re celebrating
Hammersmith Park is all that remains of the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition in White City, but few know it is a Japanese garden. Now an avenue of stone lanterns and a wooden entrance gate are being installed to celebrate the park’s Japanese origins.
To mark the event, Japan Society, together with the Embassy of Japan and the Friends of Hammersmith Park, are hosting an afternoon activities and music. Children and adults alike can make their own Japanese lantern to take home, learn to write their name in Japanese, try on a kimono, fold some origami, and even meet Hello Kitty herself!! That’s right – Hello Kitty will be making a personal appearance at the celebrations! And if all the excitement makes you hungry, you’ll be able to sample delicious Japanese street food at the Japan centre food stalls.
A wide range of Japanese traditional and contemporary music will fill the garden all afternoon, from the guitar-like shamisen, to taiko drums, concluding with performances by two exciting Japanese musicians. ICHI, takes the concept of the one man band to entirely new heights with his homemade instruments and eclectic, fun sound, while Hokkaido-born Hatis Noit’s mesmerising vocals draw on musical traditions from Japanese court music to opera, and Buddhist chanting to pop.
The World Shakuhachi Festival 2018 brings together many of the world’s best performers of the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute, from all continents. It presents, at highest level, a broad cross-section of traditional and contemporary solo and ensemble music for shakuhachi. As an instrument, the shakuhachi is known by many people, but without being named or recognised. It has put in appearances in many film soundtracks, including the final Harry Potter films, and is on the other hand enjoyed by many because of its deeply meditative quality. The instrument is, however capable of a broad range of music, from quiet to energetic and stimulating, alone, and grouped with other instruments, from Japan and elsewhere. The broad spectrum of its music will appeal to music lovers from all walks of life and with all tastes, from traditional to modern, from meditative to ‘world music’.
The WSF2018 will offer an unique opportunity to experience the world of shakuhachi close up and in a variety not seen before in the UK or Europe. Our schedule is bursting with a wide range of concerts, workshops, lectures, talks, exhibitions, screenings and informal gatherings, bringing together around 40 top-level shakuhachi performers from Japan and another 40 from other countries to play and teach. Whether you are a seasoned shakuhachi professional, an enthusiastic hobbyist or simply interested in discovering new cultural and musical territory, WSF2018 is the place to be.
Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival 2018: Youthquake
21-23 September 2018
Kings College London, Close Up Film Centre, Barbican Cinema
This edition of JAEFF, in partnership with The Japan Foundation, riffs off the Oxford Dictionary’s word of 2017: ‘Youthquake’ – defined as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.’
Featuring classic avant-garde films from the 1960s and 1970s that examine youth counterculture, the student movements, and general currents of dissatisfaction and rebellion.
London’s very own and much loved festival of Japanese culture – Japan Matsuri – took place in 2017 on Sunday 24th September. It was the 9th year for what is now a regular fixture in the London calendar – this energetic annual event brings people together to enjoy an amazing day of Japanese food, music, dance and so much more.
The 2018 date has just been announced, so please bring family and friends, old and young to join us for the 10th anniversary event on Sunday 30 September 2018. All absolutely free!
As in previous years, everything will kick off bright and early at 10am and the action will run non-stop all the way through until 8pm in the evening.
Despite facing discrimination and prejudice in Japan, the indigenous Ainu people have maintained their own culture and art. The Ainu have developed their art through their everyday life and it has its own unique value and beauty. Surprisingly, Ainu art has been largely ignored in Japan but has received attention in other countries such as the UK.
In this seminar, Toru Kaizawa, an Ainu artist, will talk about his passion for Ainu contemporary art and about his work which will be displayed at the British Museum from September 2018. Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere will explain why she values Ainu contemporary art and how Ainu traditional art still exists in modern life. Professor Simon Kaner will then explore the beauty of Ainu art from a historical perspective.
This seminar aims to raise awareness of Ainu contemporary art and has been organised in collaboration with various institutions, including Hokkaido University and the Sainsbury Institute.
The third edition of the Naviar Haiku Fest, a day event exploring the relationship between music and haiku poetry, comes back to London for the second time after our first show in October last year.
We’ll start the event with an introductory workshop to haiku, a traditional short form of Japanese poetry. In the afternoon there will be a series of talks and panel discussions focused on creativity, ‘arts-meets-science’ and more.
The Haiku Fest will end with a series of live performances by members and friends of Naviar Records, working in the fields of ambient, electronic and contemporary classical music.