Happy New Year!
My name is Chizuko Ueno, the Chief Director of the Women's Action Network (WAN). Last year, I went to Mexico, my favorite country, for the first time in a long time. I got this scarf there. It’s so Mexican it makes me feel like I am Frida Kahlo.
During the general meeting last year, two of our directors resigned; Yoshiko Kusunose and Miho Ogino had been serving as directors since the founding of the WAN. Our sincere gratitude to them. Now, the two new directors are Natsuko Hagiwara and Machiko Ogawa; I’d say we are a little bit rejuvenated.
And the most significant news last year was this: “WAN journal for Women’s Studies.” We had launched it to make it in time for the general meeting. As the inaugural chief editor, we have welcomed Teruko Inoue, the mother of Women’s Studies in Japan. The journal has continuously been updated with new information.
Also, the WAN mini-comi library has expanded its collection. We receive more and more requests to add works to our collection. We are overwhelmed with joy. One of the greatest things is that Megumi Yanagibara, one of the mini-comi library members who lives in Chile, completed Kegai no Feminism, which is based on the oral history by feminists in the Tohoku region, as her Ph.D. thesis; the book received the Women History Studies Award founded by Haruko Wakita. We will upload her lecture at the upcoming award ceremony, as mine at the last year’s ceremony has been posted as well. Another very WAN project is The Last Lecture Archives by researchers who are pioneers of Women’s Studies. This year, again, many big names, such as Mari Osawa, Mutsuko Asakura, and Kumiko Ida, will give their last lectures. We have many of these valuable video recordings.
The WAN’s strength is not immediate effects, but the collection of such valuable data, and people who regularly access it. It’s called the long tail effect, right? I’ve learned that term recently.
We have another WAN-ish thing. Has anyone noticed on the English page that a novel by Keiko Ochiai is translated into English? Kiyomi Kawano and Miho Tajima have translated Ochiai’s semi-autobiographical novel, I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard. Ms. Ochiai and her publisher granted the WAN the translation rights free of charge. I think the Internet is great because we were able to upload a 300-page PDF. Within a few days since the upload, there were already 300 accesses; I guess it was very much waited for. I think this is another area where the WAN could take advantage of its strength.
Furthermore, three foreign scholarship students got in touch with us regarding internship at the WAN. Unfortunately, the WAN, for the time being, is a tiny organization where everyone is a volunteer, and so we had to decline them, but we hope we could admit such students in the future.
What else: we have decided to move our corporate affairs headquarters from Nagoya to Tokyo. So our mailing address will also be changed. I want to mention that we made a lot of efforts regarding this.
Now, as for the general meeting this year: we are going to hold a large-scale meeting in Kyoto on May 18th, returning to the place where we were born. The theme will be: Active Feminism Again – Changing Society with Our Anger. So many things pissed us off last year. There was Japan’s Finance Ministry’s sexual harassment scandal. As a result, the #MeToo movement was enlivened. Tokyo Medical School systematically betrayed female students; how dare they? And the MP Mio Sugita – this person is a woman, mind you – described LGBT people as “unproductive.” This agonized quite a few people who are related to WAN. We are pissed. We are going to express our anger. We should express our anger. As the "ACTION" in Women’s Action Network shows, the WAN means not only information but action too. That’s why we are returning to the beginning and set the theme “Active Feminism Again – Changing Society with Our Anger.”
As for the May 18 meeting at Doshisha University – as the WAN, an online entity, we are planning to do simultaneous broadcast including our overseas bases in the Philippines and South Korea, as well as the stations in Japan. We very much look forward to seeing you in Kyoto!
Chizuko Ueno's speech translated by Yoko Morgenstern
Happy New Year!