IGS Research Project 2017


IGS Research Project 2017

:Research Representative

The New Middle Class and Gender in Asia

Researcher Mariko ADACHI (Professor)
Etsuko SAITO (IGS Researcher/Associate Professor, Ochanomizu Univeristy)
Kaoru KANAI (Saitama University)
Glenda S. ROBERTS (Waseda University)
Yoshie HORI (Keisen University)
Susan HIMMELWEIT (The Open University)
Outline This project is a continuation of Gender and the Emerging/Maturing Economic Societies in Asia since the Global Financial Crisis (Mariko Adachi, Principal Investigator), a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) project that ended in the preceding fiscal year.

Economics and Women: Theory, History, and Ideology

Researcher Mariko ADACHI (Professor)
Etsuko SAITO (IGS Researcher/Associate Professor, Ochanomizu Univeristy)
Hiroaki ITAI (Project Lecturer)

– Gender analysis of finance, employment and labor
– Research on economics and women in Japan
– Research on economics and women in Britain

Gender and Politics in East Asia

Researcher Ki-young SHIN (Associate Professor)
Members of Research Network on Gender and Diversity in Political Representation (GDRep)
Outline East Asia has attracted global attention as a region that has achieved economic development, but the path of development of political democracy is not uniform. Above all, Japan has the longest history of democracy, but also the lowest level of women’s participation in politics in the region. Taiwan, on the other hand, already had a high proportion of female members in the parliament before democratization, and the proportion has risen to well above 30 percent since democracy was introduced. In South Korea, as well, there has been a significant increase in female members of the national and local legislature in the dozen or so years since the early 2000s. The aim of the research is to undertake a comparative analysis by surveying both male and female legislators in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, to ask what factors improve or hinder women’s political representation in the East Asian countries, and how to put in place political systems that foster gender diversity.

Reexamining Liberal Feminism

Researcher Hiroaki ITAI (Project Lecturer)
Yoshifumi OZAWA (Kanagawa University)
Outline The purpose of this research project is to reexamine the ideas and movements that characterize liberal feminism, the first wave of feminism, which included Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill. The general understanding is that liberal feminism must be overcome because it is premised on the public-private dualism of liberalism. However, the public-private spheres, as understood by liberalism, are not simply laissez-faire individualistic spaces, rather, they also justify intervention where injustice exists. This research aims to clarify matters by undertaking a textual analysis of The Subjection of Women by J. S. Mill, and to create momentum for a reexamination of liberal feminism by completing a new translation of The Subjection of Women.

The Relationship between Donor Offspring’s Welfare and Receptivity of Family Diversity in Society

Researcher Yukari SEMBA (Project Research Fellow)

In recent years, the numbers of infertile couples who are considering using donated sperm/eggs, or surrogate mothers has been increasing steadily. In some countries, the movement to seek legal permission for same-sex marriage has become active, and in recent years we often see cases in which same-sex couples, single men, and single women use donor conception to have children. In Japan as well, Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo, and Takarazuka city in Hyogo have started to provide certificates to same-sex couples as an official couple. Japan might come to have more demands for donor conception owing to the emergence of diverse family forms in the future.

In Japan, there are already more than 15,000 children born through sperm donation, and some of those children say that they would like to know the identity of the sperm donor. However, there is still no law or legislation regarding reproductive medicine and donor conception in Japan. While the necessity of such legislation is recognized, most experts hold negative views on providing the donor’s information to children. When same-sex couples, or single men or women use donor conception to have children in the future in Japan, donor children inevitably will find out that they have biological links to someone other than the parents who have raised them. If Japan still retains the donor anonymity regarding donor conception, more donor-conceived people may demand the right to know their own biological origin.

In some countries and regions around the world, the foundation for accepting family diversity has been established, and it is not unusual for same-sex couples or singles to have children using reproductive medicine. Many of these areas have legal guarantees of children’s right to know their biological origin. This research project will study laws and legislation concerning the parent-child relationship and reproductive medicine law in several countries, and then analyze the relationship between degree of social acceptance of family diversity and the donor-conceived children’s right to know their origin in each society.

Population Policy versus Women’s Reproductive Rights: Rethinking Government Support for Infertility Treatments in Japan and Korea


Yukari SEMBA (Project Research Fellow)
Jiso YOON. (JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow / Assistant Professor, University of Kansas)

Outline The availability of assisted reproductive technologies coincided with rapidly declining birthrates in Japan and Korea in recent years. This research focuses on government programs and policies to support infertility treatments as countermeasures to declining birthrates in the two countries, assessing the impact of infertility support policies and studying patients’ emotional distress from social pressure from gender perspectives.

Factors Affecting Job-Life Satisfaction of Working Parents

Researcher Junko SANO (Project Research Fellow)

Studies in the US in 1990s revealed that having multiple roles at work and at home may bring about positive psychological effect on “job-life satisfaction” among working mothers. This research project examines factors affecting job-life satisfaction of working mothers and fathers in Japan from multi-disciplinary social science perspective.


Specially Appointed Professor Research Project 2017

After Dark: The Nighttime in Nineteenth Century Japan

Researcher Laura Nenzi (Specially Appointed Professor, IGS / Professor, The University of Tennessee)
Outline This new research project analyses the perception of the night in early modern Japan, with a focus on the nineteenth century. It then situates late-Tokugawa Japan within a global context. Part of this project looks at the gendered implications of the night. In the realm of popular culture, gender informed the types of fears elicited by the night (e.g., female ghosts). For the authorities, controlling nighttime as well as its spaces and activities were a method for reinforcing the status system and maintaining social order. One method for maintain such control was the management of issues pertaining to gender. In Tokugawa Japan, controlling the nighttime necessitated the replication (and possibly even the reinforcement) of “daytime” norms pertaining to gender and patriarchy. When tensions erupted (as with the eejanaika phenomenon of 1867), the night became the time when the hetero-normative rules enforced during the day were called into question; during the nighttime, ambiguity took center stage, and unorthodox behaviors became possible.

Singlehood in Contemporary Japan and the Increase in the Proportion of Never-Married Persons


Annette Schad-Seifert (Specially Appointed Professor, IGS / Professor, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

Outline Japan has been showing a marked trend towards developing into a society of single people. One of the causes of this trend is an increase in the proportion of never-married persons and of persons who do not intend to ever marry. These changes in marriage behaviour have raised grave concerns among policymakers as well as scholars, since this trend is correlated with a falling birth rate and rapid societal ageing. I have longstanding interest in this topic, and will examine literature of family sociologist Masahiro Yamada. I will also organize an international symposium , titled ‘Singlehood, Living Alone and Work-Life Conflict in Japan’.

Womenomics and the Development of the Female Labour Market under Japan’s Gender Equality Policies


Annette Schad-Seifert (Specially Appointed Professor, IGS / Professor, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)


This project focuses on the development of the female labour market under Japan’s gender equality policies. In 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe initiated a progressive plan to increase female employment and empowerment entitled ‘Womenomics’ I have written several articles on this issue. An English version of a book chapter entitled ‘Womenomics–A Model for A New Family Policy in Japan?’ will appear in a forthcoming publication entitled Family life in Japan and Germany. During my stay at Ochanomizu University, I will work on this book manuscript and collect valuable data for future research on working women and women in leadership positions. I will also give a lecture at an English seminar, titled ‘Are Market Conditions Better in Achieving Gender Equality than Politics? Abe’s ‘Womenomics’ and Beyond’.


External Funds 2017

Parenting, Family, and Friendship in ICT Societies: International Comparative Study of Japan, South Korea, US, and Sweden

(JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A), 26242004)

Period 2014 – 2018
Researcher Masako ISHII-KUNTZ (Director, Professor)
Outline This project examines parents’ usage of ICT tools and the social media in childrearing and communication, and analyzes its influence on their children’s development, family relationships, and friendship. International comparisons between Japan and South Korea, US, and Sweden reveal some unique aspects of Japan’s contemporary child raising, and how ICT tools affect co-parenting and the sharing of housework.

IT-BPO International Division of Labor and Gender in Emerging Asia: India, Philippines and China

(JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), 17H02247

Period 2017 – 2019
Researcher Mariko ADACHI (Professor) [Co-Investigator] Yoshie HORI (Dokkyo University) [Principal Investigator]
Outline This project aims to construct a theory on the international division of labour in the service sector of emerging Asian countries through investigating the current trends in international business process outsourcing (BPO), women’s work and relevant changes in society. The practice of BPO in the service sector has been developing since the 2000s in India, Philippines and China, and this project seeks to compare these countries in terms of these trends.

Woman President and Women’s Political Representation in Politics: Park Geun-hye in South Korea

(JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) project, 26360042)

Period 2014 – 2017
Researcher Ki-young SHIN (Associate Professor)
Outline In South Korea, the 2012 elections resulted in a conservative government led by a female president (Park Geun-hye). Conservative governments have been singled out for supporting traditional gender norms that potentially undermine women’s substantial representation in politics. However, Park Geun-hye fought and won the elections with “woman” as her keyword. Taking Park Geun-hye’s tenure as the period of study, this research considers the impact of a conservative government led by a female president on women’s substantial representation by studying policies related to women, the political system, and changes in party election strategy in the 2016 national elections under the Park administration.

Women’s Political Participation: Surveys of Institutional and Social Factors

(JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) project, 15K03287)

Period 2015 – 2017
Researcher Ki-young SHIN(Associate Professor) [Co-investigator] Mari MIURA (Sophia University) [Principal Investigator]
Outline The purpose of the research is to clarify the causes of gender imbalance (women underrepresented/men overrepresented) in political representation, and how such imbalance is reproduced. We will carry out a comparative analysis of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand to elucidate the systemic and social factors that prescribe women’s political participation, and to clarify what kind of systemic reform and norm formation are linked to the elimination of underrepresentation.

Women’s Representation in Local Councils in Japan: The Case of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly

(JSPS Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, 15F15741

Period 2015 – June 2017
Researcher Ki-young SHIN (Associate Professor)
Jiso YOON(JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow  / Assistant Professor, University of Kansas) [Foreign research Fellow]
Outline Despite being one of the most developed and democratized nations in the world, women’s political representation remains low in Japan. Yet, the percentage of women is significantly higher in local councils in comparison to the national parliament. Focusing on the case of the Tokyo metropolitan council, my project examines the specific kinds of strategies political parties and women’s rights advocates rely on and the consequences of such strategies on women’s representation. An additional goal of the project is to conduct comparative analysis of Japan and Korea—two countries representing distinct paths to women’s representation (e.g., quota and non-quota strategies). Focusing on Tokyo and Seoul metropolitan councils, I will examine how each strategy has shaped the number and type of legislators elected into office (descriptive representation) and the ways in which women’s interests are represented in local politics (substantive representation).

A Genealogy of Self-interest

(JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), 15H03331)

Period 2015 – 2017
Researcher Hiroaki ITAI(Project Lecturer) [Co-Investigator] Masanori TAISHIDO (Toyo University) [Principal Investigator] et al.

This project aims to construct a genealogy of the concept of self-interest and examine its potential as an analytic tool. Economic theories have assumed self-interest to be the basic motivator of human behavior. In recent years, behavioral economics has revealed that several other factors, such as emotion and instinct, can motivate economic activities as well. These outcomes, however, have not yet led to the rewriting of economic theories. Moreover, self-interest is generally regarded as the motive force behind competition, and it is often regarded as the cause of people behaving unethically and immorally in the pursuit of goals. A thorough examination of a range of discussions on self-interest and the history of how each theorist developed their arguments reveals that such an understanding has not been consistent. Based on these factors, we explore two questions: how can we bring diversified arguments about self-interest into contemporary economic theories? Also, how can we develop a discussion over the pros and cons of competition?

Creating Teaching Materials to Guarantee the Right to Know the Origin of AID Children

(JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 16K12111

Period 2016 – 2019

Yukari SEMBA, (Project Research Fellow) [Co-Investigator] Kiyomi SHIMIZU (Josai International University) [Principal Investigator]

Outline In Japan, donor insemination has been performed for more than 60 years, and sperm donors should have been anonymous. However, there is a tendency to abolish gamete donor anonymity in other countries because of respect for donor offspring’s welfare. This research aims to create information material for intended parents and donors to learn the importance of securing a donor offspring’s right to know the origin of births.

Framework Construction of Gamete Donation in Japan: A Survey on Counseling and Recordkeeping of Involved Persons in Other Countries

[Research for standardization and long-term surveillance of assisted reproduction, Project for Baby and Infant Research of Health and Development to Adolescent and Young Adult, Japan Agency for Medical research and Development]
Period 2016 – 2017

Minoru IRAHARA (Professor, Tokushima University) [Principal Researcher] Naoaki KUJI (Professor, Tokyo Medical University) [Co-investigator] Yukari SEMBA (Project Research Fellow) [research Collaborator]

Outline When parents who used donor insemination (DI) do not allow or disclose any relationship between biological father and child, several cases have proven that the parent–child relationship is adversely affected when the children accidentally discovered the truth regarding their conception. The study focuses on DI families in Japan and overseas, investigates why it is important for DI families to accept the truth of family building through DI, and establishes healthy family relationship without any frustration caused by non-biological connection in the family.

Research on Families Formed via Donor Conception

[Toyota Foundation Research Grants-in-Aid Program, D16-R-0788

Period May, 2017-April, 2019
Researcher Yukari SEMBA (Project Research Fellow)
Outline Recently the use of reproductive medicine is becoming more common, and the demand for reproductive medicine and the number of children born through medical assistance are increasing. The research is focused on donor conception families and explores how donor conception families share their family building stories with children, through interviews in Japan and other countries.
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