Tsundoku Digest: June 5, 2019

Here are some tabs I’ve left hanging in my browser this week (or in the past two months):

A TV show decides that it’s funny to ambush bystanders with offensive inquisitions about their genders and a camera, and its guest calls out their shit.

Ueno Chizuko dishes out painful truths about being a woman in Japanese higher education at a school where the percentage of women in every incoming class never exceeds 20 percent. (English-language coverage here.)

Here’s an extract from her speech:

女子は子どものときから「かわいい」ことを期待されます。ところで「かわいい」とはどんな価値でしょうか?

From the moment they are born, girls are expected to be “cute”. But we should ask: is there any value in being “cute”?

愛される、選ばれる、守ってもらえる価値には、相手を絶対におびやかさないという保証が含まれています。だから女子は、自分が成績がいいことや、東大生であることを隠そうとするのです。

That value is this. When one is loved, chosen, sheltered, one is guaranteed never to threaten the other. That’s why girls hide the fact that they’re good at grades, or the very fact that they go to the University of Tokyo.

Speaking of archaic and awful gender roles, apparently Hato Bus (a bus tour company) employing a male to be a tour guide was so trailblazing that Tokyo MX decided to do a 6-minute feature on this new employee, from asking about why he wanted to become a tour guide (he really enjoyed his school trip to Okinawa) to whether he passed the company exam (he did, but just barely, so he has to do more training before he officially debuts. Oops. Spoilers!).

A write-up of an art exhibition about the lingering impact of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo.

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 5.10.59 PM.png

Finally, in celebration of Pride Month, a plug for this excellent photo book, Edges of the Rainbow, by Michel Delsol and Haruku Shinozaki.