For one of our last reflections, we composed a list of questions we are still thinking about for our experience. The focus of our course on women in modern Japan combined with our experiences with other young women at three different schools in Japan has left us with more questions than answers.
Here’s Kelly Choi on the experience…
“Drafting questions with our group of students was an easy process because we are almost at the end of our trip and there are many pressing questions in our minds that we would like to ask the Kichijo students.
Some of the starting questions were, “What’s your image of a typical American?” or “What surprised you about Miss Porter’s School?” We also had many questions comparing our school to Kichijo because we noticed many differences as well as similarities. Many students in our group also wanted to ask if Kichijo students were to create a brand new school, what would it entail? I personally was very curious about the topic of politics and whether the students here followed American politics and knew anything about the coming inauguration.
Once my partner Annie and I were back in our Senior home room, we were split in 4 different groups and we went around in a circle going to each group. The students were very well prepared with statistics and facts about modern women in Japan. The common themes that I observed in each group was that they all agreed men are seen as superior to women in Japan which was supported by statistics of the large wage gap and how most women quit their jobs after giving birth.
When I asked, “What does a successful women look like in Japan?,” one group showed me Yuriko Koike, who they explained was a role model for many girls at Kichijo Girls’ School. She was the first woman in Japan to challenge many gender barriers and stereotypes by becoming Tokyo’s first woman governor. They explained that they looked up to her because Kichijo teaches girls to be independent and that their goals and dreams are to become successful independent woman in Japan. Since our main goal and theme of this trip was to learn about modern woman in Japan, it was great to hear that they wish to follow in the footsteps of independent women such as Yuriko Koike.”