All posts filed under: Discourse & Practice

Unveiling the truth about “women in poverty” in contemporary Japan

Atsumi is twenty-three years old. She has been living in an Internet-Café for two months. She works as a waitress at a coffeehouse, but she may lose the job if the owner finds that she has become homeless. When she was in high school, her father died of cancer, her mother left her, and she withdrew from school. A loan shark has been chasing her after the first loan. She has scarcely been surviving alone (Suzuki 2014: 16-36). Introduction It was in 2015 that the “hinkon joshi,”or women in poverty, which include the likes of Atsumi, suddenly gained public attention in Japan. A documentary by NHK discussed the shocking fact that a third of working women in Japan were poor. Even if they marry, becoming a “wife” would not give them any advantage in contemporary Japanese society; matrimony has not become a realistic measure for women to escape from poverty (NHK Research Group 2014: 64-65). This feminization of poverty is worrying for a country suffering from a declining birth rate. In this essay, I will …

Interacting with Myself and by Myself: Social Interaction in Online Space

When I was a student in Japan from 2011 to 2015, the incidence of hikikomori was a much-talked-about issue. The Oxford dictionary defines hikikomori as “(In Japan) the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males.” It was an unprecedented social phenomenon; no one knew what it was and how to deal with it. It is easy to conclude that the hikikomori are outcasts of a fast growing society and that their emergence is a natural outcome of social change. However, such a notion raises too many questions: why did they emerge in this particular point in time? What have influenced young people to be hikikomori? What do they imply about the current society?

The Rohingya Crisis: Notes on ASEAN, Power, and Identity

The Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s (ASEAN) seeming inaction on the Rohingya crisis came as a shock to many. However, for those who have been observing ASEAN development, its failure to enact a coherent policy towards the Rohingya crisis only adds to the long list of matters it failed to address such as the “Cambodian Problem,” the South China Sea Dispute, and many others.

Tourism and the Global Expansion of Capital: Contradictions, Fixes, and More Contradictions

Capitalist development driven by a maximisation of profit for the owners and shareholders makes it prone to practices that are environmentally unsustainable, that promote a kind of individualism that disregards the fortunes and efforts of others, and that disrupts social mores. They often obstruct flows that meet basic needs, endanger livelihoods of those dependent on natural capital, and furthermore accelerate inequality and disrupt social cohesion within the community.