Gender and the invisible emperor
Uploaded: 26 Mar, 2009
Recording Date: 27 Mar, 2009
Topical for: 1 Month
Status: Raw, unedited
Program Title: Gender and the invisible emperor
Description: Naito Chizuco and Ko Youngran examine the power that media representations can exert on reality â€“ how the representations of groups and events can legitimize forgetting the past and ignoring aspects of the present.
The two young professors flew in from Tokyo last week to present papers at McGill â€“ entirely in Japanese, with English translations projected behind them. And though it was sometimes rough going for the non-Japanese-speakers in the room, the two had a lot to say.
Their papers focused on gender roles and nationalism in Japan and Korea, and the discrete ways in which these concepts are reinforced. Koâ€™s talk, for example, dealt with the politics behind the decision to make Shin Siamdang, who represents the figure of a â€œgood wife/wise mother,â€� the first woman to appear on Korean currency. Naito, picking up where Ko left off, pursued the connection between the emperor system and patriarchy in Japan, vis-Ã -vis representations of female assassins in literature, film, and the news media. She discussed the negative portrayals of Crown Princess Masako after she â€œfailedâ€� to produce a male heir. â€œThe framework that prevents a woman from becoming emperor surely demonstrates gender inequality in Japan,â€� Naito asserted.
McGill East Asian studies professor Adrienne Hurley decided to bring the speakers to campus after working with them at an Oxford University symposium dedicated to Kobayashi Takiji, a proletarian writer from the thirties becoming increasingly popular with Japanese youth, who, unlike their parents, are not finding lifetime employment. â€œYoungran engages questions about gender through colonialism and nationalism, and Chizuko comes to questions of colonialism and nationalism through gender analysis,â€� Hurley wrote in an email to The Daily. â€œTogether, they provide a rich and complex analysis of structures of oppression and differential power relations that impact daily life even in the most unexamined places.â€�
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of amazing scholarship done in languages other than French and English, and finding ways to make such work accessible to McGill students is important to me,â€� she added.
The Daily caught up with the speakers and asked them a couple questions before the talk, in an interview simultaneously interpreted by McGill PhD candidate Jodie Beck.
Featured Speakers/Guests: Braden Goyette interviews Naito Chizuco and Ko Youngran. Translation by Jodie Beck.
Comments: Note that this interview contains long sections spoken in Japanese interspersed with English interpretation. Programmers may want to edit down the interview.
Society and CultureType: Interview
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