Special dialogue between Chizuko Ueno, a leading expert on gender studies and a Nitobe Fellow (1982-1984), and transgender activist Fumino Sugiyama.
Chizuko UENO (Sociologist; Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo)
Fumino SUGIYAMA (Former national women’s fencing team member; co-chair, NPO Tokyo Rainbow Pride)
Moderator: Tomoko KUBOTA (Reporter, TBS News)
After completing her doctoral course in sociology at Kyoto University, Dr. Ueno held teaching positions at Heian Women’s College and Kyoto Seika University, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, the University of Bonn, Columbia University, and the College of Mexico, and was a visiting scholar at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. In 1993, Dr. Ueno was appointed Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, the University of Tokyo, and then Professor of Sociology, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, the University of Tokyo, from 1996 to March 2011. She was a special invited professor at Ritsumeikan University from 2012 to 2017. She has served as Chief Director of the certified non-profit organization, Women’s Action Network (WAN), since April 2011. Dr. Ueno is a pioneer and leading theorist in women’s studies and gender research and also conducts research on nursing and care for the elderly. She has authored a number of books, including Kindai kazoku no seiritsu to shuen (The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Modern Family; Iwanami Shoten), which won the Suntory Award for Academic Publications in 1994. Her other books include Ohitorisama no rogo (Growing Old Alone; Bunshunbunko), Ueno-sensei feminism ni tsuite zero kara oshiete kudasai! (Please Teach Me about Feminism from Scratch; Daiwashobo), Onna no ko wa do ikiruka: Oshiete Ueno-sensei (Dr. Ueno’s Lessons on How Girls Should Live; Iwanami Junior Shinsho, 2021), Ofuku shokan: Genkai kara hajimaru (Correspondences: Starting at the Edge; Gentosha, 2021). In 2020, she was selected an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Born in Tokyo, Fumino Sugiyama is a transgender activist and leading campaigner for a better understanding of sexual minorities in Japan—based on the idea that addressing the needs of minorities will also help resolve the issues faced by the majority. He is a former member of the Japan women’s national fencing team. After earning a master’s degree from Waseda University in 2007, Sugiyama spent two years backpacking around the world, visiting over 50 countries and the Antarctic, during which he came face to-face-with various social issues. He became actively involved in awareness-raising activities for LGBTQ issues in the early 2010s, contributing to the effort to make Shibuya Ward the first municipality in Japan to recognize same-sex partnerships in 2015. In the same year, Sugiyama became a member of the Shibuya Ward Gender Equality and Social Diversity Promotional Committee and a co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride. He currently serves as an executive board member of Federation Japonaise d’Escrime and the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC). Publications include Daburu hapinesu (Double Happiness; Kodansha, 2006), Moto joshi kosei, papa ni naru (A High School Girl Becomes a Dad; Bungei Shunju, 2020), and Sannin de oya ni natte mita (Starting a Three-Parent Family; Mainichi Shimbun Publishing 2021). He is now a father busy with his parenting duties.
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