2017-01-23

Home (日本語)
About

Browse

+By article
+By author
+By issue
+By language
+By location
+By topic
+By year
+Photos
+Random article
+What links here
+Search

Sister Sites

+Mind the Gap
+Portable Alien
+TsukuBlog

Tsukuba Info

+City Hall
+Tsukuba Map
+Tsukuba Orientation
+Tsukuba Wiki

Support AT

+Advertise on AT
+Buy AT stuff
+Donate to AT
+Submit an article
+Take a survey
+Volunteer

For Staff

+AT Workspace

Contact

+Contact us


Letter From The Editor: November 1995

Author: Tim Boyle, Issue: November 1995, Topic: Letters to or from the Editor

In last month's issue, I included a comment to the effect that the October issue would include "one last airing of opinions on the controversy surrounding a few comments made by Martin Pauly in his 'Quality of Life' article in May." I also mentioned that this kind of public debate on a rather emotional issue was not what we wanted this monthly newspaper to focus on. I guess I was a bit naive to think more responses would not be forthcoming. The two letters we received, however, are worth taking a look at, though for the sake of space as well as to lower the decibel level of the rhetoric a bit, the second letter was shortened considerably (hopefully without deflecting its main points).

I must admit that I was caught by surprise as to how much heat would be generated by a few off-handed comments. They were not the kinds of things I would have committed to public print, but then again, when I read through them in the mad rush to get the paper finished, I didn't realize at the time those comments would cause such an uproar. When later pointed out, of course, it was not hard to see the reasoning behind the comments received. As the old saying goes, "Hind sight is 20/20". Likewise, as this voluntary effort often takes more time than I or any of the rest of us can really afford, it's difficult to take the care needed to avoid such pitfalls. We will endeavor to do better in the future. Hopefully, everyone involved has learned important lessons from the experience.

While we're dealing with this issue, I would like to point out a very timely and thought-provoking article in the Oct. 23rd Daily Yomiuri on the related subject of "Sexual Harassment in Japan." Written by "Times Staff Editor" (Los Angeles, not Alien) Hilary E. MacGregor, its basic point was that even though the taboo of publicly discussing this serious problem has finally been broken, the present economic recession is actually making the situation worse, since "it silences women who fear for their jobs (and) emboldens men who exploit vulnerability." In addition to vividly describing the types of things going on, as elicited from her numerous interviews, she makes one statement concerning the legal situation that I found particularly shocking. Until very recently, there were no laws against this sort of behavior, but even with the new law, there is very little hope of real enforcement, as it in effect says that "a man must state that his motive was sexual harassment to be found guilty under the new law." Fat chance of that happening!

Likewise, I found it rather surprising that the first successful sexual harassment case in Japan was not until 1989 -- only 6 years ago. In fact, even though it would be easy to directly translate the concept of "sexual harassment" into Japanese -- namely as "seiteki na iyagarase" or something similar, it wasn't until 1989 that any term was applied to this offensive behavior. And what was chosen? "Sekuhara", a coined word from a shortened version of the English! Perhaps there was a temporary side benefit it doing it that way in that the new word's meaning had to be explained each time it was used, but I think the overall effect of using a totally new "katakana" term is to reduce its impact by hiding the problem in vagueness -- a ploy not uncommon in Japan. At any rate, I wanted to commend this excellent article to our readers and offer copies of it to anyone who is interested. Just give me a call.

<< Alien Times Themes of the Month | Master Index | Letter To the Editor: November 1995 >>


TsukuBlog

TsukuBlog is a daily blog for the foreign residents of the city of Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan. It is a sister site to Alien Times. It includes up-to-date information on events, news, living in Japan, Japanese culture, and more.

If you find the articles interesting, you can sign up to receive the TsukuBlog articles by email (a daily email including all of the articles that are posted) or subscribe to the feed (so you can be notified of updates through your internet browser or feed-compatible software).

Alien Times Sponsors

The advertisements that appear on paper and online versions of The Alien Times do not necessarily represent the views of the Alien Times. The Alien Times takes no responsibility for any transactions that occur between advertisers and readers.


The authors of articles that appear in Alien Times reserve the right to copyright their work. Please DO NOT copy any articles that appear in Alien Times without first receiving permission from the author of the article (when known) or the Alien Times Editor.

Funded by the Tsukuba Expo'85 Memorial Foundation, Printed by Isebu

Sponsors