The Worldwide Women’s Action Network (W-WAN) is a sub-group of the Women’s Action Network (WAN) based out of Japan. W-WAN’s mission is to introduce activities and activism by and for women in Japan through a platform of international languages. We also offer translations of articles published on the WAN website, currently in English, Chinese (both in traditional and simplified characters), and Korean.
W-WAN project launched in the summer of 2010, under the direction of WAN’s Director Chizuko Ueno and Shin Yamaaki (the first chief of W-WAN). Its purpose was to share the work of WAN with a global arena. An English-language W-WAN blog began in September 2011 as one of the links of the WAN website.
In 2015, W-WAN blog was integrated into the WAN’s renewed website. WAN receives hundreds of thousands of monthly views. With W-WAN, we are very excited to allow an even broader range of viewers through our English content.
Native speakers of English may notice that some of our articles are not written in “natural” English. This is because most of us grew up in Japan and are not native speakers of English. But we still decided to write in English in hopes of reaching out to a broader audience worldwide.
W-WAN believes that cultures and languages are all equal. English, however, is the most powerful de facto international language. Understanding there are limitations, we still chose to use English, because we trust that communicating women’s voices in Japan to the world is worthwhile.
In 2018, the first Chinese language articles were published. And in 2019, the first Korean language articles followed.
In addition to articles translated from Japanese, we also publish original articles. We hope you will enjoy them. We look forward to comments from around the world.
[Original message from Shin Yamaaki, the founding chief of W-WAN]
The Worldwide Women’s Action Network (W-WAN) has started an English-language blog (http://worldwide-wan.blogspot.com/ ) since September 2011. The launch of this project was summer 2010 when I got an email from the current Chief Director of Women’s Action Network (WAN), Chizuko Ueno. She wrote, “I want to make an English version of WAN. I want to get non-Japanese speakers to know that, in Japan, there is a unique website like WAN.”
I found it meaningful and promising. I was curious, too. I was working on an interesting translation project at that time, through which I recognized a trend to transmit voices in Japan beyond Japanese-speaking world via English. So, in reply to her I said, “Okay, let’s try.”
We called our new-born project as English WAN (E-WAN) at first. Yet, two months later, fall in 2011, we decided to change it into Worldwide-WAN (W-WAN). Why?
At the very first meeting for the project, I murmured, “Our objective is to deliver Japanese women’s voices beyond Japanese-speaking world, in other words, give voice to Japanese women who are almost voiceless now in English-speaking world. And simply for this, we would employ English language to make a blog because it is the dominant language in the today’s world. In a way, I’m not very comfortable to call it English WAN.”
Agreeing with me in full flood, Ueno started to explore alternative ideas. By the time the meeting was over, we decided to name it Worldwide WAN instead of English.
Using English language, which is for the overdog in large part from global and historical perspectives, we deliver Japanese women’s voices who try to connect via WAN, that is, voices of the underdog who need to be connected.
Although joined by skillful members using English language for work in some way, we never go for native speakers English. Our priority is not given to become or copy the overdog.
To create and deliver voices which would be unheard if letting it lie, we now take others’ language and embark on this challenging project – for even further sisterhood between the strong and the weak divided by the past and current world order. We would be pleased if you could understand our concept and goal, hear the voice, and cooperate in sharing it.
Originally written in Japanese in December 2011, and then written in English in December 2013 by Shin Yamaaki, W-WAN founding chief.