"Learning to Behave Naturally" is a tapestry of early gendered memories. Participants – local and foreign university students, faculty and family at a language arts university in western Japan – were told in advance only that the project was childhood-related.

Key Words/phrases: gender, language, childhood, socialization, parenting, bullying, color coding, sex education





Designed for classroom use, "We Japanese" is an intimate exploration of the collective notion of Japanese identity.

Key words: Hafu, Zainichi Korean, nationality, returnee, ethnicity, race, gender, gaijin, makeup, sexual harassment

[Available Upon Request]
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For Micha from Tamarahco Hen Productions on Vimeo.

"It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over." ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Children's" Day‏ from Tamarahco Hen Productions on Vimeo.

Who and what are being celebrated on 'Kodomo No Hi' (Children's Day), and by whom? These are the questions this slideshow is designed to provoke. Several viewers have commented that they didn't know carp is a male symbol. From Wikipedia (and easy to verify elsewhere): Before this day, families raise the carp-shaped koinobori flags (carp because of the Chinese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon, and the way the flags blow in the wind looks like they are swimming), one for each boy (or child), display a Kintarō doll usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese military helmet, kabuto. Kintarō and the kabuto are symbols of a strong and healthy boy.

"Each boy (or child)"? See "Women and People"
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


A FEW STUDENT COMMENTS:
The NHK program, “Trad Japan,” says that it’s cold in northern areas in March, so Girl’s day is not a national holiday. Boy’s day is a national holiday, but Girl’s day is not one because of the weather? This is “gender segregation”. At first, I did not care about this, because Boy’s day is called Children’s day, and therefore it includes girls. However, I reckon that it is just the name, and it actually focuses on boys and celebrates mainly them. I think Japanese government should make Girl’s day a national holiday, and then it makes sense in terms of “equality” between girls and boys.
Miura Yuka (female, Kansai Gaidai University)

The Japanese government renamed tango no sekku to Children's Day for "gender equality". However, they just integrated girls into the boys' celebration, such as having them wear armor and helmets. It is clear that the contents of Children's Day is still for only boys.

Oka Yuki (male, Kansai Gaidai University)


According to the text, Kodomono-hi is defined legally as a day to "respect children's right" but this definition was decided after WWII. Before then it was called Tango no Sekku. This holiday displays Koinobori and Samurai, and celebrates boy's success and health.

As the video says, Kodomono-hi is a day for boys and it is an official holiday, however Hinamatsuri is a day for girls and it isn't an official holiday. The video asks why, because the difference is weird.

Fujita Rika (Female, Doshisha Women's College)


Who and what are being celebrated on “Children’s Day”? According to the text, “Children’s Day” is a national holiday and it is a day to respect child rights and, to work toward their happiness. Before the end of WWⅡ, May 5th was celebrated as a day, Tango no sekku, to wish for the health and future of boys. Children’s Day is not only for boys but also girls. But in fact, the holiday is celebrated with koinobori, yoroikabuto, samuraidolls, all are associated with boys.

We also have a day to celebrate girls called Hinamatsuri on March 3rd, but March 3rd is a non-holiday. If Girl’s day were a holiday, Boy’s Day relegated to a private ritual, boys and men would get angry, according to the sideshow.

In conclusion, “Boy’s Day” was changed to “Children’s Day after the war, but it is still a custom which celebrates boys. We should discuss about the unfairness.

Morino Sakiko (Female, Doshisha Women's College)


There are many holidays in Japan. One of the holidays is “Children’s Day” on May 5th. “Children’s Day” is based on Tango no Sekku, and difined legally as the day “to respect children’s right, to work toward their happiness.” The day is mostly for boys. Children display kabuto, warrior dolls and fly koinobori with parents or relatives. They are symbols of “Children’s Day”. The meaning of the kabuto and warrior dolls display is a way for parents to wish for their sons to grow healthily. They wish for their health, to be more powerful and future success.

In Japan, there is also a day for girls, called “Girl’s Festival”. “Girl’s Festival” is on March 3rd. On that day, girls drink amazake, and display hina dolls with parents or relatives before March 3rd.

There are some parallels between “Children’s Day” and “Girl’s Festival”. But the difference between them is holiday and not holiday. Why isn’t “Girl’s Festival” a holiday? Maybe, it’s because, in Japan, man’s position is higher than woman’s. Such idea remains in Japan firmly today. If “Girl’s Festival” were defined as a holiday instead of “Children’s Day”, what would happen in Japan? What kinds of influence would it have? It’s time to think about it.

Yoshizuka Arisa (Female, Doshisha Women's College)

Banana Leaves from Tamarahco Hen Productions on Vimeo.

Carol Adams:

"Behind every meal of meat is an absence: the death of the animal whose place the meat takes. The "absent referent" is that which separates the meat eater from the animal and the animal from the end product. The function of the absent referent is to keep our "meat" separated from any idea that she or he was once an animal, to keep the "moo" or "cluck" or "baa" away from the meat, to keep something from being seen as having been someone."

Adams, Carol J. The Sexual Politics of Meat. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000 (first pub. 1990), p. 14.