Watashi Mo!

Japanese GeishaIt’s International Women’s Day!

While I do not call myself a feminist (for various reasons) I do applaud the new strength the women’s movement has gathered worldwide to push equality of the sexes. Not all the ideas are good in my opinion, but at least, there’s a discussion going on that will move things forward. It’s good to see empowered women protesting all over the planet, and in Spain, even shutting down the country with their strikes. It’s time for us to be taken seriously!

In Japan, things are moving much more slowly. The society is very reluctant to change, and while there are some women who expose themselves publicly in the fight for women’s rights, the majority is silent, even though they may agree.

One Japanese woman who is not silent at all is Shiori Ito, who has become the face of #metoo in Japan. She was raped in 2015, and after a long battle to get the man – a personal friend of the prime minister, apparently – prosecuted, the case was finally thrown out, possibly on intervention from really high up. Yes, rape is a crime in Japan, but as in so many other countries, it can be very difficult to get a conviction, even if the evidence supports the victim’s claims.

Shiori Ito is still not silent, she is trying to fight not just her own, but the bigger fight. Despite receiving a lot of backlash over her action – also from other women in Japan – she strives to change attitudes and procedures that rape victims face in this country. I hope she does succeed in this, so that soon, it will be indeed a Happy International Women’s Day for everyone!

Read up on Shiori Ito in this piece of the Tokyo Weekender, published some time last month.

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