Japan for Equal Dignity or Diguniti Japan*


Neil Ryan Walsh, Director and Coordinator

•  Welcome
Vision Statement
•  Mission Statement
•  Academic Mission Statement
•  Members
•  Links

HumanDHS would like to warmly thank Neil Ryan Walsh for suggesting to explore how the concepts of dignity and humiliation can be given life in and by Japan. Comments and articles of any length are welcome welcome. Any work should be submitted to Neil Walsh at wakanyc@yahoo.com for consideration.


Welcome to Japan for Equal Dignity (JED) by Neil Ryan Walsh

Issues of human dignity and humiliation are very relevant to Japan, to Japanese people, to understanding Japanese history, and for the future of Japan. The objective of this group, Japan for Equal Dignity (JED), is to extend the scope of the work of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network (HumanDHS) to more fully include Japanese issues, and to expand the network throughout Japan to interested lay and academic communities and individuals.

As noted in JED’s vision statement, we are free from religious and political agendas. We advocate an orientation that is consistent with the work of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network. In order to ensure this principle, JED will not advocate a specific position on any issue. Our members and contributors are invited to express their opinions and experiences as freely as they wish, however, we would like to encourage all to do this in such a manner that this does not perpetuate cycles of humiliation. By perpetuating cycles of humiliation, we mean opinions that portray victimizations of one group by another in a simplistic one-sided ways, for example, by presenting victimizers as nothing but omnipotent and/or as being motivated by an “unexplainable evil,” and the victimized group as being nothing but helpless pawns of the group in power.

Most of the projects and discussions of JED will be long term and will attempt to look at different issues over a long period of time, giving contributors the opportunity to explore many different aspects of a particular topic. It is our desire that the network promotes an approach that is global, taking into account the social and historical aspects of the topics of our interest, with a tempered tone, so as empower us to deeply understand issues related to Japan, rather than engaging in accusatory sensationalism.

It is my understanding that persons contributing to this network will come from diverse backgrounds, with unique histories and experiences. Some of our contributors will be bilingual in Japanese and another language, not necessarily English, while others will only be able to write in one language. The network invites contributions in any language but will have a need for any piece not written in English or Japanese to contain an abstract in either or both languages.

This network will include work on a variety of subjects, including mental health, minority groups in Japan, and Japanese politics. Some current issues that are of particular interest to me and that are relevant to this network include the new Japanese prime minister, Japan’s aging population, NEETs and Hikikomori, Yasukuni Shrine, and Japan’s relations with China and Korea. Other contributions may be related to the area of human dignity and humiliation studies more generally, like defining humiliation in the Japanese context, or exploring new research methodologies that highlight human dignity in sciences.

I shall send updates out to the members of JED and persons interested in joining this group which shall be posted on the JED website as monthly newsletters and updates. All contributions to JED will be copyrighted by Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. I look forward to receiving contributions and feedback from you.

Best Wishes,
Neil Walsh, MA
Tochigi-ken, Japan
September 2006

Vision Statement

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

This joint project explores how the concepts of dignity and humiliation can be given life in and by Japan.

Mission Statement

I, Neil Ryan Walsh, have decided to accept the position of director and coordinator of the Japan for Equal Dignity (JED) project because I believe in the work of the "Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network" and would like to work towards building up the network in Japan and in relation to Japanese studies. My vision for this network is to create a forum for anyone interested in Japan to exchange ideas, research, experiences, and projects related to Japan and/or Japanese studies focusing specifically on the area of Human Dignity and Humiliation studies. The members of the board of directors of JED shall create a new mission statement for this network sometime in the near future. At this point I see this project as functioning in the following ways:

•  To further develop the field of human dignity and humiliation studies generally while specifically focusing on issues human dignity and humiliation studies which relate to Japan.

•  By using human dignity and humiliation as a lens by which to examine Japan and Japanese society this program plans to complement and expand upon other disciplined academic approaches to Japanese studies.

•  Eventually this network may support with interventions and or activism in fields related to the topics being studied by JED members.

Academic Mission

This project will set up a website that deals with Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. We will look at culturally relevant conceptions of what it means to live a dignified life in Japan and also look at culturally relevant expressions and experiences of humiliation in Japan and how those particular expressions of dignity and humiliation relate to the general area of human dignity and humiliation studies according to the areas listed below.

Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the following broad perspectives
•  from the historical perspective.
•  from the social perspective: Anthropology and Sociology.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the psychological perspective.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the perspective of the humanities - Literary criticism/analysis, cultural studies.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan through the fine arts.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the economic perspective.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the political perspective.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the religious perspective.
•  Exploring issues in Dignity and Humiliation in Japan from the perspective of psychopathology: Clinical Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Counseling.

Issues pertinent to
Japan and Japanese society (in no particular order)
1) Mental Illness in Japan related to humiliation
2) Education - getting into college, juku (preparatory schools), Elementary School Education.
3) Humiliation in the family/family dynamics
4) Japanese feminism
5) Japanese studies of men and masculinity
6) Humiliation in the workplace in Japan
7) Beyond humiliation - how humiliation relates to other concepts (constructs) and social phenomena
8) Humiliation in World War II/The great pacific war
9) Humiliation themes in the arts in Japan
10) Shame and humiliation in Japan
11) Dignity and Humiliation in Japanese religions - Shinto, Buddhism, the traditional Japanese religions vs. the new religions, or the "New New Religions" (Shin shin shukyou)
12) Humiliation in Japanese politics - the case of the ultra right wing in Japan
13) Globalization and Japan
14) Japanese abroad - transitions to living abroad, transitions back to Japan
15) Descendents of Japanese abroad - a) North America - United States and Canada, b) Latin America - Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, d) Europe - Germany, France?, the Netherlands?, e) Asia - Thailand, Former Soviet Republics?, Korea?
16) Japanese descendents coming from abroad to live in Japan
17) Japanphobia and humiliation - Japan as #1 in the 1980s and 1990's
18) Japan and Korea, a) historical, b) Japanese occupation of Korea, c) World War II and withdrawal, d) Post World War II, e) The World Cup and beyond: Japan, Korea and the world
19) Japanese and the former colonies - Taiwan, Singapore, Manchuria, Japanese born in the former colonies.
20) Sexuality and Gender in Japan, a) he gay community, b) transgender - Nyuhaafu and other, c) historical, d) spaces for sexual minorities in Japan - Shinjuuku Nichome, 21) the Atomic Bomb - Genbaku
22) The Japanese economy and its relationship to Human Dignity and Humiliation
23) Karooshi - work till death
24) Hikikomori and humiliation in Japan
25) Architecture and Humiliation in Japan (see, for example, Koichi Nagahima)
26) Natural disasters dignity and humiliation in Japan
27) Suicide
28) The Tokyo Subway bombings and humiliation in Japan
29) The Japanese Left - Japanese Communists and Student Leftists, a) the anti-Vietnam and anti-Fachist riots of the1960s issues in dignity and humiliation, b) Japanese communists
30) Interracial relationships in Japan
31) Gaijin - foreigners living in Japan - humiliation/dignity and intervention
32) Japan and international relations
33) Japan and the UN
34) Asian perceptions of Japan and Japan 's historical record
35) The Ainu
36) Chinese living in Japan
37) Burakumin - The second class Japanese citizens (see also Equal Dignity and Purity for All (EDPA))
38) Japan 's aging population
49) Japanese urban vs. rural areas
40) Psychoanalysis in Japan - Amae theory

Members of the JED Team

Director and Coordinator

Neil Ryan Walsh, MA

Japan English Teaching and Exchange Program (JET Program) Kaminokawa-machi Board of Education, Tochigi-ken Japan Japan for Equal Dignity (JapanED), wakanyc@yahoo.com.

Academic Advisors - JED-Academic Advisor for the Arts

Mark Stought

Graduate Student, Regional Studies East Asia, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., United States of America, mstought@fas.harvard.edu

Academic Advisors - JED-Academic Advisor for Gender and Environmental Studies

Keitaro Morita

Graduate Student, Environmental Communication, St. Paul's (Rikkyo) University, Tokyo, Japan Areas of Interest: Environmentology, Gender/sexuality Studies, Ecofeminism, Feminist Studies, Queer Studies                                                   



Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on delicious.com. From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

Japan PM Apology on Sex Slaves
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologised in parliament for the country's use of women as sex slaves during World War II.
The apology comes after Mr Abe was criticised by Asian neighbours for previous comments casting doubt on whether the women were coerced.
Mr Abe told parliament: "I apologise here and now as prime minister."
This appears to be part of a concerted bid to reduce the fall-out of earlier comments, a BBC correspondent says.
Mr Abe said, during a debate in parliament's upper house, that he stood by an official 1993 statement in which Japan acknowledged the imperial army set up and ran brothels for its troops during the war.
"As I frequently say, I feel sympathy for the people who underwent hardships, and I apologise for the fact that they were placed in this situation at the time," he said.
His statement has gone a little further than similar attempts to clarify his position two weeks ago, but is unlikely to satisfy all his critics abroad, the BBC's Chris Hogg in Tokyo says.
The row over his comments have compounded the difficulties facing Mr Abe. His six-month premiership has already been rocked by a series of scandals and gaffes.
An opinion poll on Monday found public support for him - Japan's youngest ever prime minister - had shrunk to just 35%....
Read the entire text at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6495115.stm.

Japan Party Probes Sex Slave Use
Japan's ruling party will hold a new inquiry into the use of sex slaves by the Japanese army during World War II, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said.
The study follows calls by some 130 MPs from Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party for the issue to be reviewed. Tokyo apologised in 1993 for its role in setting up army brothels, but the MPs believe the apology went too far. Mr Abe last week publicly questioned whether "comfort women" - mainly Chinese and Korean - were coerced.
His remarks angered neighbouring China and South Korea.
Many historians say Japan compelled up to 200,000 women to become sex slaves during the war. But some Japanese scholars deny that force was used to round up the women, blaming private contractors for any abuses.
US Congress debate:
The US House of Representatives is currently considering a non-binding resolution calling on Tokyo to "formally acknowledge, apologise and accept historical responsibility" for the treatment of the women.
Many former comfort women are still seeking compensation from the Japanese government for their experiences.
Tokyo did set up a compensation fund in 1995, but it relies on private donations rather than government money...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/6431011.stm.

Japan Refuses Sex Slave Apology
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan will not issue another apology for its World War II military brothels.
Mr Abe said none of the testimony in recent US Congress hearings showed solid proof prostitutes were abused. Elaborating on comments he made last week, he said he would not go beyond a 1993 apology on the issue, even if Washington asked for one. Many historians say Japan compelled up to 200,000 women, mostly Chinese and Korean, to become sex slaves. But some Japanese scholars deny that force was used to round up the women, blaming private contractors for any abuses...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6418337.stm.

Japan Schools to Rethink Beating
Japanese schools should rethink their decades-old ban on corporal punishment, a government-appointed panel has urged. The report, submitted amid growing concern over bullying, stopped short of overtly backing beating, but suggested an end to a policy of leniency. Bullying was found to be involved in 14 of 40 youth suicides from 1999 to 2005 in a country where pupils are also under great pressure to perform well. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called the report "wonderful". He said what was important now was to carry it out, though it could take some time. Alarmed by the trend of bullying deaths, the panel, chaired by the Nobel laureate Ryoji Noyori, urged schools last November to punish classroom bullies and crack down on teachers who ignored the problem. Around the same time, the education ministry received dozens of anonymous letters threatening suicide believed to have been sent from pupils. Japan's education minister had previously denied bullying was a factor in the youth suicide rate. The report urges an end to the recent policy of leniency in schools, which had been initiated in response to the growing pressures on children to get high scores on tests, but which critics blame for a drop in standards. It also suggests increasing class hours, compulsory public service and a switch in the start of the school year from April to the autumn. Since 1947, anything from punishing children by making them stand out in the hall to physically striking them is banned. Elsewhere in the region, China and Taiwan have made corporal punishment illegal in the school system. Globally, 109 countries have banned punishing children by beating them. In the United States, 22 states still allow corporal punishment in schools, and the most recent statistics show more than 300,000 American schoolchildren were physically disciplined between 2002-2003...
Please find more material at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6293849.stm.

Japanese Expressions of Humiliation
Assembled by Midori Suzuki, Tokyo, 2004.

*The Japanese word for dignity, hinkaku, has a different feeling in Japanese than in English, therefore we use the Japanese adaptation of the English word diguniti.