I gave a talk at Showa Women’s University whose president is Mariko Bando. President Bando is also widely known as the author of numerous books including a best-selling book, The Dignity of a Woman. The lecture at the Hitomi Memorial Hall was open to the general public and approximately 2,000 were in attendance, most of whom were students.
As I have reiterated numerous times on this site, (Ref. 1, 2, 3) the disaster of 3.11 has made the weakness of the Japanese male-centric hierarchical social structure apparent to the rest of the world and has, in turn, prompted talk about this state of affairs. This demonstrates the almost frightening power of the information age. My talk focused on these topics as well as the great expectations for women in the modern age.
The discussion moved onto topics such as “students should take time off during their school years”, the direction that women are moving into in the global world and actual examples of their activities. I truly hope that each and every one of them is able to find a career that allows them to have a wonderful life.
I also made a request to the president and the Chairman of the board that students not be required to pay tuition when they take a leave from school.
I received a number of messages via Twitter, and also emails such as this one:
“My name is “M” and I am a fourth year student in the Department of Psychology in the Social Science Faculty at Showa Women’s University. I attended your lecture today at Showa Women’s University and I wanted to thank you for your very interesting and thoughtful talk. I am sending this mail, because I really wanted to convey what I took away from today’s lecture.
I listened to what you had to say, I came to realize that what we need to do is first give ourselves permission to take on challenges and strive to maintain our drive and passion as we tackle these challenges.
I also think that if we look at our homeland of Japan from the outside, we would gain a new and different perspective on things in comparison with our current perspective.
Since the events of 3.11, I have come to doubt much of what I had hitherto accepted without question.
However, I now strongly feel that it is our job to change what Japan has become.
Nothing will happen unless people like myself do something. I just wanted to let you know that I have taken your exhortations to heart and will try my best to do whatever I can to help achieve change. . . .
Thank you so much for your efforts of today.”
It always pleases me when I get such a response from students that holds the promise of the beginning of something new and becoming connected.