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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

FAMES Room 10 (the old Common Room)
Zoom [Registration link below]
Event date: 
Monday, 31 October, 2022 - 17:00


Attack on Gender Studies in Japan:Our Court Fight against LDP Lawmaker Sugita MioMuta right) and co-plaintiffs at the supporters meeting on the first trial day (2.2.2019)

Gender studies have come under attack in Japan as well as in other countries. I myself was targeted by the influential female LDP diet member Sugita Mio on Twitter and in online videos. She accused our research project on how to achieve gender equality, and me by name, of misappropriating public funds by funnelling a research grant to political activists. She also described our research on the so-called ianfu (comfort women) issue as “fabrication,” “against the national interest,” and “anti-Japanese. Her remarks went viral. Numerous insults and abusive language was directed at me online, even to my university by phone call. In February 2019 my research collaborators and I sued her for defamation; as of October 2022 our case is being discussed at High Court.

In this lecture I will introduce the court case and analyze why this kind of ultra-right wing politician can gather popularity and maintain strong power both politically and socially in Japan.

MUTA Kazue is Professor Emerita of Osaka University Japan and currently Visiting Professor of Glasgow Caledonian University specialising in historical sociology and gender studies. She has been working on sexual harassment and sexual violence as an academic and activist since she led the advocacy group for the first sexual harassment court case in Japan in 1989. Her book Buchō, sono ren’ai wa sekuhara desu! (Boss, that’s not love but sexual harassment! Shuei-sha, 2013) became a best-seller and for her article, “TheComfort Womenissue and the embedded culture of sexual violence in contemporary Japan” (Current Sociology 2016) she was awarded “Sociologist of the Month” by the International Sociological Association in March 2017.

Along with her co-researchers, Muta filed a court case against Sugita Mio, an influential female LDP lawmaker for defamation in 2019. The case is now in the Osaka High Court.