Monday, July 18, 2011

Ways the Women of Japan Win

The Japanese students on campus today were full of smiles.  Yesterday, they were shouting and singing頑張れ / がんばれ / Ganbare!!  /  Go, Hang In There, Go!!.

For women in Japan, the World Cup win is a big, big win. The Gender Equality Index of Japan is only equal to that of the United States - in other words, women in Japan as women in America are not very equal to their male counterparts by international standards. Here's an interesting way of putting all of that.

And for "football" or "soccer" in general, the Japanese women have won much for many because they show the world new ways of making the game even better. Here's how USA coach Pia Sundhage put it:
“As I said, the way we played the first half against such a position-oriented team we were more dangerous than they were and we created chances. There is something to be said about the way Japan plays. They are comfortable with the ball and that’s good for women’s football going forward. Even though you take the first 45 minutes, they kept up their confidence, they kept their style. They believed in their technique. That’s good for women’s football in the future.”
Here is how the Washington Times editor and reporter recognize the winning ways of women in Japan:

Women’s soccer team embodies Japan’s post-disaster resilience

Growing up in a male-dominated culture, where women traditionally were expected to serve tea in offices and quit jobs to become housewives, the Japanese players had to fight just to find space on school playgrounds among boys wanting to play baseball and soccer without them.
Japanese girls still usually are seen playing tennis or volleyball after school, while boys pursue dreams of playing Major League Baseball or World Cup soccer.
The women's soccer team is known in Japan as "Nadeshiko" — a reference to a frilled pink carnation but also a nostalgic phrase dating back at least to World War II that describes the "ideal" loyal and resilient Japanese woman.
Though they reached the Final Four at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, the women's soccer team only now has made the front pages here amid the nuclear crisis.

(More generally, here are additional resources for information on and by women in Japan.)

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