International Women`s Day

Happy Women`s Day Women

of the world, on this

8th of March 20-14

I`ve been way too quiet on the blog front.   I had one prepared back in January but for some reason did not post it.  Oh well, I`m back with a vengeance and will post that one soon.

Well today is International Women`s Day – in Japanese 国際女性デー/こくさいじょせいデー (I had to look this up as I was going to put in the particle の and adjectival な but it seems not to be necessary – glad I looked it up) – and so I thought I`d choose an appropriate topic, this being the controversial topic of `comfort women` who were women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II (possibly in previous wars as well) .   It`s nice to know there are many historians in Japan who do back up the story of these women (according to a recent article in the JT they have found even more historical documents to prove that the military were very much behind it and that the women were`t `just ordinary prostitutes` as most right-wingers are claiming which is a whole other article).  These historians are appalled by the government`s plan to revise the apology made to the women back in the 1990s.      I hope these women do not have to suffer more indignity at the hands of the Japanese government.   They have suffered enough.

At present I work in a bookshop.  There are so many great books in this shop and for International Women`s day I have arranged the window display to include books by or about women around the world.  Unfortunately, none of them are about Japan because funnily enough the one book I could think of in the shop relating to women in Japan (A Woman called Oh), I have already bought.   The other Japan-related books are written by male authors (as good as these male authors are, I`ll have to see about changing that!!).  I`m afraid that if I bring my book back into the bookshop even for one day to put it on display, it might be sold by accident.   The same goes for the only other book I have which is written by a female Japanese writer.  However, the poster I have made up for International Women`s Day for the shop window has International Women`s day written in a few languages including Japanese so that`s my Japanese fix.

While I`m on the topic of women, I watched Twilight Samurai lately which I never tire of.  What a fantastic film (and the theme tune is beautiful – 決められたリズム).   Soon after his wife dies, and he embarrasses himself and his colleagues at work with his shoddy appearance, the main character Iguchi Seibei (nicknamed Tasogare Seibei, the title of the film in Japanese, by his colleagues because he always heads home straight after work to his family) is prompted by his angry uncle to get married again. He refuses, and talking with his young daughters afterwards he tells them how appalled he is that his uncle talks about women like they are heifers who are only good for breeding and that this is disrespectful to women.     In addition, he loves his daughters and is happy that they are studying Confucius at school (the Uncle is not:  `Why does a girl need to know about Confucius!`) and not just sewing and so on which, he agrees with his daughter, is more practical but not as useful to know in the long run as Confucius.

Unfortunately, men like his uncle (Tetsuro Tamba I think the actor`s name is, who starred with Hiroyuki Sanada in another film,The Shogun`s Samurai, back in 1978) were all too common in Japan at the time (around the time of the Meiji restoration) and exceptions like Seibei were probably extremely rare!!

Well, I hope women around the world are making progress in whatever difficulties they are trying to overcome.     It`s our day!!

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