Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I think this issue of gender equality is perceived differently outside the US and Europe and it will not do simply to impose alien cultural values. Like Chris Li, I am aware that as a culture Japan is sexist and racist in ways that offends long-term residents like myself. But these are cultural values that will not change on purely rational grounds. I am hopeful that they will change, but the change will not come purely as a result of rational argument on a US/western model.
It's interesting how strong the consensus is in so many westerners that "our values are the correct ones and we need to impose them on other cultures so that they will be 'up to snuff'".
Japanese cultural values borrow a lot from the Chinese (although the approaches to gender are somewhat different) and China is the longest surviving agrarian civilization the world has ever seen. I.e.,.... their "values" may have some positive contribution to the success and stability of the culture in toto. In other words, although in each phase of existence we have felt strongly that our "current values" were the best in the world and we should foist them on everyone to their benefit, maybe we should question our values as much as we question everyone else's. Caution in dealing with other tribes, races, "outsiders", etc., is a survival trait, not a whim of the ignorant. Perhaps there is a compromise between perfection, as we see it, and the "backward" mores of other cultures that in actuality will work out to be the best for all?