Week 1 Family/Gender Issues September 13-19

Conference Call: The time for the call will be arranged so that the participants will all be able to get acquainted.

Watch:

Reading: 1. The Japanese Mind: Family/Gender Issues

      • Ch. 22, Pg 179-186 “Good Wives and Wise Mother: The Social Expectations of Women in Japan,” Ryosaikenbo 良妻賢母
      • Ch. 7, Pg 61-70 “Male and Female Relationships in Japan,” Danjyo Kankei 男女関係
      • Ch. 16, Pg 135-142 “Childrearing Practices in Japan,” Ikuji 育児
      • Ch. 14, Pg 119-126 The Japanese Ie 家 System

      Watch:

      Writing: Weekly Paper: “Impressions and Points from Your Reading”

          • 1. From Anne’s TED talk, how do you think that taking a deep interest in the Japanese people and their culture/country as opposed to obtaining a shallow understanding of Japan might impact your ministry to Japanese people?
          • 1.b What can we do to take a deeper than average interest in Japanese people and culture (and what is important to them?)
          • 2. How do you think that the Japanese structure of homes/ie, childbearing, male and female relationships and the expectations of women potentially impact how we approach ministry to Japanese? (Should our outreach to men and women be different?
          • 2.b How do these structures impact how we approach ministry to Japanese?
          • 3.  Read as many of the other students’ writings and comment on at least two of them.
          • Optional: Read the discussion questions at the end of the chapter. Are there any that you think highlights a key point that merits further discussion by the class, specifically as it relates to how we think about and approach ministry to the Japanese?

      Pray:

          • Pray daily for Japan and Japanese, using the Prayer Calendar schedule within Operation Japan which outlines the readings for each day. In addition, read and pray through the following sections from Operation Japan  which correlate to this week’s learning topics. Make a note in your blog concerning the information and/or your prayer to share with others.
          • Topics related to this week’s learning:
            • Family – The Word for The Family (May 3-5)
            • Family – (April 21st)
            • Ministry to Children – Child sex victim rate skyrockets

      Extra Suggestions:

      Questions

      • 0

        Prayer for your 8-week study of Japan 102

        Riz Crescini

        Hello everyone,
        I lift you up with these words of prayer by Thomas Aquinas as you study the Japanese mind:

        Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator,
        True source of light and fountain of wisdom!
        Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect,
        Dissipate the darkness which covers me,
        That of sin and of ignorance.
        Grant me a penetrating mind to understand,
        A retentive memory, memory and ease in learning,
        The lucidity to comprehend,
        And abundant grace in expressing myself.
        Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress,
        And bring it to successful completion.
        This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man,
        Living and reigning with you and the Father,
        Forever and ever.
        Amen.

      • 1

        Japan q02 1wk

        Don Wright

        hi

      • 3

        1. From Anne’s TED talk, how do you think that taking a deep interest in the Japanese people and their culture/country as opposed to obtaining a shallow understanding of Japan might impact your ministry to Japanese people?

        Brandalyn

        Please “reply” with your answers to this question in a conversation string below.

        • Joze

          IMO, it is foundational to any ministry as a way of loving them and walking alongside them. It’s not just getting to know WHAT they do, but HOW and WHY they do them in that particular way. It’s getting deeper into knowing and understanding another culture’s worldview so that we can have a better mutual understanding and so that we can be able to better communicate the Good News in ways that are actually good for them and their culture.

          Riz had mentioned that crossing cultures is navigating different worldviews, and I think he’s absolutely right. In essence, there are 3 worldviews that we need to navigate: our own culture, the Japanese culture, and the Ancient Near Eastern culture of the Bible. So this “making disciples of all nations” thing is not to be taken lightly. It was a little easier for Paul and the early Church because they were already “in” the culture even when “allegiance to Jesus” went from Jewish culture to Gentile culture.

        • Barbwhiterma31

          I found her talk very interesting and caused me to want to take a deeper look at the “whys” of the way the Japanese do things (or people of other cultures for that matter). Taking a genuine interest in the meaning of their ways of doing things shows an interest in the person and makes them feel valued which causes people to be more open. I was texting a student yesterday and her question about something initially offended me a bit. But I stopped and thought about it and thougth she may not have been clear in her communication because of her lack of the english language. So I responded as if it was not meant the way I initially took and and sure enough, she had communicated incorrectly. I was so glad I didn’t jump to conclusions!

        • LANIORILLA

          @joze – thanks for pointing this out “In essence, there are 3 worldviews that we need to navigate: our own culture, the Japanese culture, and the Ancient Near Eastern culture of the Bible. So this “making disciples of all nations” thing is not to be taken lightly.” I totally agree and will definitely keep this in mind. I think it is really difficult to navigate 3 cultures that one might be tempted to just give up but I hope I won’t give up.

          @barbara – wow! that’s really great! you were already able to apply the principles in our lessons!

      • 1

        1.b What can we do to take a deeper than average interest in Japanese people and culture (and what is important to them?)

        Brandalyn

        Please “reply” with your answers below.

        • Joze

          Anne already mentioned a few in her TED Talk: learning the language, learning how to cook Japanese dishes, etc. As a male, I’d need more suggestions. So far, I have: going out for beers, playing boardgames with “boardgame otakus,” having meals together, celebrating and understanding some of their matsuris, and attending fireworks together.

      • 1

        2. How do you think that the Japanese structure of homes/i.e., childbearing, male and female relationships and the expectations of women potentially impact how we approach ministry to Japanese? (Should our outreach to men and women be different?)

        Brandalyn

        please “reply” with your answers in a conversation string below

        • Gideon8

          My area of familiarity is with the lovely collectable art of old Japan, primarily Edo and Meji Period. Art reflects the very soul of the artist, and unfortunately art has also been used as a tool for stirring nationalistic emotions.
          It was both a surprise for me and the Japanese I met when I shared about their lovely art.
          For them, that a foreigner is not just interested but seems quite well versed with the fine art of their ancestors.
          For me, it was a surprise that many Japanese do not know their historical treasures.
          A strange disconnect. Yet not surprising in post WW2 Japan where by intent or not, there seems to be a gravitatin towards American cultural dominance and a collective amnesia of the glorious and yet dangerous past of pre WW2 Japan.

      • 0

        Anneś TED talk

        Gideon8

        Taking a deeper interest is important. But that will entail not just probing deeper, but rather, learning to look at issues from the perspective of our Japanese counterpart rather then from our own frame of reference.
        It reminds me of my own walk with our good Lord. How seemingly difficult situations become an opportunity for a time of gratitude and strength, when one looks at it from Godś will rather then our needs and desires.

      • 0

        Japanese culture

        Gideon8

        My area of familiarity is with the lovely collectable art of old Japan, primarily Edo and Meji Period. Art reflects the very soul of the artist, and unfortunately art has also been used as a tool for stirring nationalistic emotions.
        It was both a surprise for me and the Japanese I met when I shared about their lovely art.
        For them, that a foreigner is not just interested but seems quite well versed with the fine art of their ancestors.
        For me, it was a surprise that many Japanese do not know their historical treasures.
        A strange disconnect. Yet not surprising in post WW2 Japan where by intent or not, there seems to be a gravitatin towards American cultural dominance and a collective amnesia of the glorious and yet dangerous past of pre WW2 Japan.

      • 1

        Gender differential

        Gideon8

        my first experience with the Japanese was in my first job back in the 80s That was the time of Japanese economic dominance. And meetings were primarily with Japanese men, and rare will there be a female executive. And if they do exist, always almost non existent, and last to be greeted.

        Fast forward to present, The females are more open to coming for English lessons or other social activities, interlaced with the gosple msg. As for the men, it always much easier over drinks or the golf links

        • Barbwhiterma31

          I found it interesting that women had more authority and were leaders in the distant past. I also found learing about the ie system helpful. I have a student that I did Bible study with for a year. She’s very open spiritually and then her host family has continued for over a year with Bible Study. Her biggest hindrance in coming to the Lord is she is afraid of displeasing her father. It makes me think there is a connection to that.

      • 0

        Joze (Week 1) Reflection

        Joze

        CHAPTER 22 “RYOSAIKENBO: GOOD WIVES AND WISE MOTHER: SOCIAL EXPECTATIONS”

        From watching fictionalized reality (Midnight Diner), contemporary reality tv show (Terrace House), reading Japan news (e.g. females running for political party leadership), there seems to be a transition period now in how female roles and expectations are viewed. Granted that rural and urban realities are different (i.e. rural tends to be more conservative and urban more progressive), to what extent are women’s roles and expectations changing (or have changed) in the current Japanese climate (given the pandemic, the rise in female suicides, the increase in single parenting, etc.)?

        The influence of magazines on Japanese women struck me as curious. It seems to me that it’s like a stereotype of a 1950s American woman (ala Mad Men, old advertisements, WandaVision) who typically gets her fashion and lifestyle cues from magazines. Is this phenomenon in Japan an import from the USA (or the West in general)? Again, to what extent is this still true (and is it hopefully diminishing?) After watching a Japanology episode on makeup and skincare, it seems that women (and some men) value good skin and have been influenced by magazine portrayals of the ideal skin.

        CHAPTER 14 “THE JAPANESE IE”

        I’m curious about the reality of this statement: “The foundations of the ie are thought to be based on the worship of ancestors.” What does this mean for a Japanese person? Is it merely honouring/venerating and remembering ancestors (because of their influence on the current family line, because they are still somehow a part of the current family, and because they can still somehow have influence in the spirit realm for the welfare of the family)? Or is it religious worship (that also includes the above qualities but more so) that is typically reserved for a higher spiritual power, like a god, gods or God? I don’t know many Japanese friends who have shown me their butsudan but the few that I’ve known seem to have one as a remembrance of their ancestor, not as a means of prayer and worship to a deity. (And Naoko’s video on butsudan was also helpful from the Japan 101 class.)

        CHAPTER 7 “MALE AND FEMALE RELATIONSHIPS IN JAPAN”

        While it’s good that women’s societal position has improved, there still remains some lingering Edo-period sentiments, discriminations and inequalities. Anne’s blog (on maternity leaves and katsudons) was helpful to get a more recent picture of Japanese culture. Now, I wonder if the egalitarian (equal male/female roles and status) and complementarian (females subordinate to males) debates among North American Evangelical denominations are starting to be seen or discussed in Japanese Christian communities? Or is the Japanese Church still firmly in the complementarian camp? Sorry, the latter is a hypothesis based on the readings and how the traditional Japanese culture seems to be closer to the complementarian understanding of gender roles. Please feel free to correct this assumption.

        CHAPTER 16 “IKUJI: CHILDREARING PRACTICES IN JAPAN”

        I like the idea of developing a “good-child identity” (even though I don’t fully understand it yet both in theory and practice). I also think that kimochi-shugi is a valuable concept insofar as it resonates with my understanding of being considerate of others, being sympathetic, and developing empathy. Now I wonder if this value is currently being eroded as seen from the cultural symptoms of increasing divorce rates, absentee fathers (and mothers?), and bullying in schools in Japan? Is bullying in schools a manifestation of lack of parenting? And how is bullying tolerated by students and teachers because it disrupts the harmony of the whole class/school?

      • 0

        Week 1 Comments

        Jim Woo

        Wow, this week’s material was quite enlightening. For some of the topics covered, God has already placed in my life. For example, the bit about the “seep down” teaching can be readily seen in the ESL Teacher training class I’m taking. It’s not quite the same as the described mother’s teaching, but some of the drills use various students as a way of demonstrating the correct answer without shaming the errant student.

        I agree that the worldview needs to be discovered and understood, and this is the hardest because it is embedded under the language and the culture. After taking CSE 201, I was recommended to take Japan 102. I’m glad that I’m in this class!

        I can also see some of the samurai effects, having read Inazo Nitobe’s *The Soul of Japan*. It also makes sense that the Japanese system of unity evolved out of the need to work together harmoniously. But as was mentioned in one of the readings, this unfortunately leaves most unwilling to take responsibility.

        I learned a bit more about the gender differences, adding to those I learned from my friends and English learners. But until I read Anne’s blog, I had no idea that women have a different diet than men. I follow a few famous people, and didn’t notice anything particularly different in what women ate. It just seemed to match the preference that women in general eat more vegetables than meat. But these women did not exclude meat. The preference seems to be more fish, though, which is my preference, too! Perhaps because fish is more readily available in Japan.

        I’m fortunate to have a friend residing in Japan who is very much into traditional culture. Initially, when I asked her to teach me about the Japanese culture, she was hesitant and pointed me to an online class instead. At first, I thought it was because she didn’t feel qualified to teach me. After this week’s reading, I wonder now if it was that she felt it was improper for her to teach a man. However, over time, our friendship grew, and I helped her with some of the scripts she uses as a docent in a traditional house and garden museum. Little by little, she shared some legends of Japan as they relate to certain attributes of the house and garden. I’m so happy to learn about these cultural aspects!

      • 1

        Lani (Japan 102 - Week1)

        LANIORILLA

        After watching Anne’s TEDtalk and reading Week 1 articles, I realized that I still have a shallow understanding of Japan. I thought that after having visited Japan several times, meeting several Japanese, and learning the language, I’m already somewhat ready to go and minister in Japan. I think I’m still far from understanding Japan’s worldview but hopefully taking this course is already one step closer.

        I think understanding their worldview would help me to become sensitive to their beliefs/values, to see our differences, and find a common ground/starting point where I can hopefully connect to their hearts. I pray God will grant me a humble and patient heart and that I will not forget to rely on His Holy Spirit at all times.

        Also, I wonder if the worldview of pure Japanese differs from a “hafu” (half-Japanese/half-foreigner).

        A few years ago, I was invited by my Japanese friend to stay in their house overnight. She cooked “nikujiaga”. I was hesitant to help her because I thought it might be burdensome for her with me hanging around in the kitchen. Looking back, maybe I should have insisted on helping her as might feel that I am really interested in their daily life and culture.

        • Joze

          “I wonder if the worldview of pure Japanese differs from a “hafu” (half-Japanese/half-foreigner).”

          That’s a very intriguing thought because mixed Japanese are raised in at least 2 parent cultures and it might depend on how they were brought up and which worldviews were passed on. I also wondered about Japanese diaspora being raised and living in a different cultural climate (like the Japanese Canadian living in the West Coast, or the large Japanese diaspora living in Brazil or Hawai’i). Which aspects of their host culture and their ethnic culture do they retain and value?