Monday, June 19, 2006

North Korea Missile launch, Japan shows concern, what could be worse?

Power & Dominion or desperation to be noticed?

A Woman Perishing: Japan's Sex Problem

The stubbornly defiant Communist country of North Korea has finished fueling their big missile, and preps its test launch. The concern of the Japanese grows, as North Korea has blatantly disregarded nuclear arms treaties, and in the past has demonstrated it's might by launching other "test" missiles (the ultimate phallic symbol) directly over mainland Japan. With animosity between the two countries, and North Koreas knack for defying all means of reaching peace... the Japanese do have a right to feel a little anxiety towards the hostile act of missiles shot in their 'general' direction. I know I'd feel uneasy about it. Click here for more.

Yet, even if North Korea launched a fully equipped nuclear missile and blew up Tokyo tomorrow, there is still one thing even more shocking than this. The treatment of women in Japan is beyond horrifying.

As of today, in the great 21st century (2006) Japan has a total of 40 Women's and children's battered shelters -most of them in Tokyo with no way for women to reach help. Until recently (basically last year) there were NO organizations in Japan devoted to the aid and assistance of battered, abused, beat, and oppressed women. In fact, there is little to no information on how to help, but the problem is dire.

A woman perishing would be the simplest way of explaining a woman's situation in Japan. This morning my Japanese fiancé calls me, in tears, to explain a case of sexual harassment. I will keep the company name anonymous, but let me explain her situation.

She is one of two women in a company which employs over a thousand people --those people being men. When she was hired, the head manage warned her that, "Sexual harassment may happen now and then, but you should just ignore it."

I was on the receiving end of that phone call too. Pretty soon some chauvinistic Japanese men are going to have an angry American gaijin pounding on their door at 3 AM for making him have to gather up his distraught fiancé for the umpteenth time only to have something worse happen. Now I genuinely love listening to my girl, and I’m there for her any time, but what I can’t stand is when she gets so bent out of shape because of some chauvinist pig. It gets under my collar when any guy treats a woman poorly, and it really riles me up when they do it to spite her. Chivalry (gallant or distinguished gentlemen with high ethical principles) is a Western concept for sure, because it is entirely lost on the Japanese man, I can assure you. If you ever want to hear women complain, listen to the foreign women in Japan discuss how often a Japanese man gawks or pushes his way past her with little to no concern for her, as if he was the only person worth caring about. It's all about the man, isn't it?

So my poor dear calls me in torrents of sobs as she explains that the men, ALL the men, in her company use just the proper amount of rudeness to have no etiquette what so ever. As she explained to me: The guys all use the bathroom, but when they are done, they just walk out into the office area with their pants half down, unzipped, clear shot of anything still dangling. It's sooo gross!

Now it's bad enough when you experience a grandpa, crude uncle, or anyone who does this type of rudimentary thing at home, walking around with his fly undone and God only know what kind of things hanging out, but in America you rarely see this in public, not unless you're in some back country red neck truck stop outside of Hicksville. To actually have to experience this in a sterile work environment -repeatedly- to the annoyance of others, but more so do those delicate minorities which may feel more discomfort, would be shocking to anyone, I should think.

Of course, having a western background, my fiancé is prone to think more independently than your average native Japanese citizen. And in Japanese society the main thing is not to disrupt the "wa" or rather, peace and harmony. The homogeneous society of Japan would rather turn a blind eye than fix the problem. What's worse is that they would rather turn a blind eye than even do the right thing. Nobody will speak out for fear that they would disrupt the harmonious flow of society, but many Japanese men take advantage of this situation to make their male supremacy and domination over the woman known. The oppression continues.

As the guys, in broad sight of my fiancé rudely zip up in front of her and often go far enough to flaunt themselves in bad taste, my fiancé went to her boss to address her discomfort. Oh boy, here's a stand up example of a human being folks. This guy has a wife and three kids, but is currently having an affair with not one, but two other women -in which he spends company dollars to wine and dine. But until the day my girl confronted him, I’m sure he believed that his infidelity was the least of his worries. So after three months of this kind of abuse and harassment, my fiancé complained to her boss (a guy desperately over compensating for his deep affection for his own male member). Now understand that unless it is an official sexual harassment lawsuit written in paper, signed, stamped, double-stamped, and following all the proper channels the Japanese man is not obliged to take the complaint to heart; or even (for that matter) listen to what the woman needs to say. I say “needs” to say, because addressing the issue is the first step in making other’s aware of the problem which needs fixing. It’s something that has to be addressed in Japanese society. And much like the formality of the process of filling out all kinds of forms, the energy and attention that goes into this process is no less important than the energy and time and attention which must be spent addressing gender equality and fair treatment of women in Japan. There is quite another level of seriousness going on here all together.

Sayaka complained to which her boss joked, "So how much are you gonna' sue me for?" She looked at him shocked and reiterated her point. She mentioned how uncomfortable it made her feel and that she would like him to request the other men to have a little more manner and bathroom etiquette. For this he ignored her request. She was going against her "womanly duty" to be subservient, obedient, towards man -and so she was rudely disregarded. So much for making an effort; I believe that in Japanese there is NO such word for “gentleman.” The closer you come to Japan’s ‘dark side’ the more you will find it’s a country consisting of one giant twisted cult'ure devoting its sacrifice to penis worship, known as kanamara matsuri (festival of the steel 'errect' penis), for more click: here. That sacrifice being the dignity of the nation in regards to how they treat their women.

Yes, you are seeing it correctly -it's a giant phallic dildo aka penis.

Here is a great double standard in Japanese society. The man expects the woman to conform to his male fantasy of how a woman should act and be. Yet, Japanese society promotes that everyone remain peaceful and un― confrontational. In a sense, the society neither propels anyone to stand up for the right thing, but rather, supports the great apathy of sitting back and doing nothing while the problem festers and gets more and more ridiculous.

As all the Japanese men chuckle and pat themselves on the back for messing around with the 'chick' at work, nobody lifts a finger to do the good, proper, or just thing. In fact if a woman went into the police to complain about her husband or some form of sexual harassment they would probably just tell her there was nothing that could be done and then try to console her as she drowns in an overwhelming sea of fatalism and dead ends. It's better to go along with the crowd than it is to stand out in a crowd -this is the Japanese way of harmony. Yet I say there won't be harmony until people stop doing the proper thing according to society, and start doing the GOOD and right thing -period; regardless of what society may think. My fiancé has her most challenging obstacles to come, and maybe it bothers me more than it should, but it hits a little too close to home if you catch my meaning.

Coming back to the issue of women who are abused in Japan. The physical abuse is mostly a domestic problem, as in most cases, but with the ill-treatment and blatant disregard of women in general, and in the public sphere, think about how much worse the oppression can be inside the Japanese household. Also, because the man is "king" in Japan, any woman who is abused cannot go to a friend or relatives house for help because she would risk ruining her husband’s reputation. It’s more important for the woman to take it bending over than it is for her to stand up for herself and have her husband lose face. I say that if these chauvinistic bastards wouldn't treat their women so bad, they wouldn't have to worry about losing face in the first place.

So pretend with me that tomorrow Tokyo blows up. BOOM! Who cares? Look at the size of this problem. As of the year 2006 there are only 40 shelters for battered and abused people in all of Japan. There are nearly half a million such shelters in North America alone. Women in Japan, many coming into the country to be exploited in the ‘adult’ industry so obsessed with flesh that when they are no longer in demand many are forced to marry any Japanese slob, who probably doesn’t care a fig about the woman, in order that she may stay in the country. Your average woman (it doesn’t matter) whether Philippino, Brazilian, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, European, or American are not allowed to seek outside help, because society's pressure keeps them down, and they are expected to politely and humbly keep quiet, retract, and feel terrorized in their own homes. This is so wrong it makes me sick. I should think any moral and just human being would be more shocked by the situation of women in Japan than if Tokyo were to be blown off the face of the earth by North Korea. And what's worse is the great 'helpless' feeling everyone feels when Japanese society won't permit anybody to make a stand.

This is something which must change. The side effects are already obvious, I mean, I am marrying a Japanese woman who is often mistaken for a movie talent celebrity she is so gorgeous, and she like many others are choosing foreigners -not necessarily because we're better, but because it's the better option. It makes me extremely lucky, and it makes all those Japanese guys poor pathetic sobs.

Now I love Japan. Overall Japanese society and culture is great. There are many wonderful, kind, and honorable Japanese men. But on a whole, there is cause for concern. The truth is hard to deal with, and this is the darkest and ugliest side to the country that I’ve ever seen, and it’s definitely an impending issue that needs more attention, but the truth is there are ways we can all help. The hardest way is to become directly involved. The other ways are through charitable events and support of your favorite charities. For those of you who know Japanese, please head on over to Sankaku Navi's website by clicking: here, for Battered Womens' and Childrens' shelters and learn about the despair which many Japanese women have to face every day in Japan.

The bottom line is this. We can complain and bring attention to the problem as much as we want, but it's going to continue and persist as long as the Japanese themselves do nothing about it. You can begin change from outside the box, but only true change and transformation can happen from within. I only pray that the Japanese don't let their women perish and allow the problem to last another hundred years. I wouldn't want it to last even one more year. If anything I would wish that the term 'gender equality' becomes Japan's new political agenda. It way beyond time for a revolution, and changing their way of thinking is the least of the Japanese concerns. Cultural progress won't be easy, but it must be done, otherwise you'll see Japan revert back into a primitive Neanderthal-like mentality -if it's not reached that point already. Japanese men first have to learn a little decency, respect, and chivalry towards their women, also women need to stand up for themselves like my Sayaka and actually have their (her) needs, feelings, and opinions seriously considered, and in the meantime, try not to let North Korea blow up Tokyo.


Tristan Vick said...

Yeah, nice. Anyway...

Racheru said...

Hi Tristan-- It's Rachel in Okayama, who was writing to you about the DV shelter. Your blog came up when I typed in Sankaku Navi to update our prefectural charity brochure. Good luck with your preparations and starting your new job! (What psycho put up that last comment? I get people from Romania asking about flea treatments sometimes, but no one so self-righteous...)

PS--My sister is going to play volleyball at MSU next fall, so I'll be in Bozeman to visit her soon! Small world.