Adventures in (Post) Gradland

Thoughts on life after the PhD

Video: Domestic Violence in Japan

Came across this piece that documents the rarely-discussed (at least in the Japanese media) problem of domestic violence in Japan.  It’s especially telling that they use a katakana-English word (domesutikku baiorensu) for “domestic violence,” indicating that there isn’t really a word for it in Japanese (or that most people wouldn’t recognize the Japanese term).  While I don’t want to contribute to the stereotype that all Japanese women are helpless victims in a male-dominated country, I do agree with this piece that attitudes toward domestic violence in Japan are shocking.  In particular, the attitude of the police (that you should go home and “listen” to your husband/boyfriend better if he hits you, that he wouldn’t hit you if you were a better partner, that it’s just his way of expressing emotion) is appalling.  Just the idea that violence is an acceptable form of communication is appalling.  I remember seeing some silly variety TV program that filmed the lives of various couples–at one point a young couple was arguing and the guy slapped the girl hard across the face, and the show continued as if nothing had happened!

Additional note: check out Andrew Grimes’ very helpful comment on this; he provides a much more thorough assessment of the situation (and plenty of helpful links).

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3 comments on “Video: Domestic Violence in Japan

  1. Hi, it is good to see that fellow bloggers like you are featuring on reports of serious issues for women in Japan. I agree with very much that it is a stereotype that all Japanese women are helpless victims in a male-dominated country. Actually there is a word in Japanese – “kateinai-bouryoku” – and this is recognized interchangeably with “domesutikku baiorensu”. Domestic violence is being discussed more in the Japanese media in recent years and I know several female colleagues who have been interviewed for their expert opinions for newspapers such as the Nikkei Shimbun and popular magazines too. I also agree that many attitudes towards the widespread problem of domestic violence in Japan need changing.

    The video report is a well researched and interesting one from Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reporting from Tokyo on the women who are speaking out about the problem of Domestic Violence (DV) in Japan. Although the report is well done it seems to imply at the end that nothing is going to chance for a long time about the problem of domestic violence in Japan.

    Here, as in any other country in the world historically, there has been domestic violence in all types of societies, not in the least of course in societies and cultures that have taken a sexist (‘paternalistic’) view that women were not as equal as men and could be beaten and suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands.

    Now, thanks to the work of volunteer women’s groups and activist lawyers in Japan who have worked hard against this problem of violence against women and children in their homes, the Japanese government enacted the Act on the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims in 2001. This was the first official recognition by Japanese politicians and law makers in Japanese history that domestic violence is in fact a crime. As a first step it was an important recognition of the widespread problem of spousal violence against women in Japanese homes throughout Japan.

    However there was considerable criticism that the low financial fines on Japanese husbands who attack their wives and the limit of only 1 month long restraining orders on men who abused their wives and children did not go far enough to provide Japanese women with a credible degree of legal protection and safety from further violent attacks. The law was revised to some extent in 2004 but still met with criticism as not going far enough to protect the victims of domestic and also for not focusing on the men who are being violent toward their wives and children:

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20041204f2.html

    Amendments to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act were passed and became law in July 2007 but did not receive so much attention in the media as would have been desirable:

    http://tokyocounseling.blog.com/4785391/

    However more and more Japanese women are taking action in Japan and, like the women featured in the video above, are no longer to suffer without protest former generations have had to do without any effective legal protection. The following links are to articles on domestic violence and National Police Agency reports that have appeared in the media this year that show that modern Japanese women in 21st century Japan are standing up against violent husbands and using the existing laws to protect themselves and their children:

    http://tokyocounseling.blog.com/4723531/

    http://tokyocounseling.blog.com/4857497/

    These brave women need and deserve stronger and even more effective legal protection for themselves and the children they are trying to protect from their own fathers hands. There needs also to be considerable public and national political will focused on providing Japanese wives and partners with safe emergency residences and legally protected abuse shelters. I think it is also of vital importance that serious decisions to provide and implement official funding to ensure that refuge and protection to all women who are suffering domestic violence of all forms.

  2. melody
    June 11, 2012

    i was came from the Philippine and then i married a Japanese his old man and I’m also a DV victim i want some advised this is my number 08054641809

  3. gradland
    June 12, 2012

    (Just a note to say that melody has been contacted.)

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2009 by in Japan and tagged , .
Anne McKnight

writing•translation•scholarship on Japan (and a few other things)

A Modern Girl / モダンガール

tales of travel, research, and life

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