Nov 18, 2018
It can be difficult for a man to put himself in a woman’s shoes to understand the inherent gender bias and challenges that women go through in daily life. Having a daughter though—teaching her things, listening to her thoughts, and answering her questions—has helped me see the world much differently, and a recent trip to a shrine reminded me of that.
My family and I traveled to Yahiko shrine in Niigata, and there, the shrine boasts a sumo dohyō (ring).
My daughter enjoys watching sumo, and when we saw the dohyō, she got excited. She told me that she wanted to go into the ring.
It was roped off and something that normal visitors were supposed to enter anyway, but I couldn’t help be think about the fact that traditionalists believe that women shouldn’t be allowed to enter the “sacred” dohyō. It made me downright angry to think that somebody would prevent my daughter from entering the ring simply because she was a girl.
There are a lot of charming things about Japan, but this sort of blatant sexism elicits quite the opposite sentiments.
I’m not saying that I will ever completely understand the challenges that women face, but I can say that being a father has opened my eyes a lot, especially here in Japan.
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).