2013 Volume 86 Issue 1 Pages 33-39
The debate over gender emerged in the field of geography in Japan around 1990, and geographers began conducting case studies in the late 1990s. However, it cannot be denied that the geography of gender is a minority field in Japan. This paper attempts to explore how the geography of gender in Japan can be developed in the future. While the concept of gender is gradually becoming more common in geography, there is a fairly common tendency to reduce the concept of gender to an “extraction of gender differences” and regard it as an issue only for women. It is not insignificant to map gender differences and tackle the issues of women’s spaces. They are suited to ascertaining spaces from macro- or meso-scales. The issue is whether such research studies (and researchers) are aware of the positional relationship between the research subjects and themselves. This is because by highlighting the current spatial issues of gender while adopting a reflective perspective on power relations and researchers’ own gender relations, stances aimed at resolving various types of discrimination can be discussed. Furthermore, there are some reservations around thinking of the issues of gender independently. Within Japanese human geography, many “geographies” currently exist for each research subject. In order to clarify the structure of inequality and the oppression borne from intersecting several axes of distinction, including gender, it is necessary for segmented “geographies” to have a theoretical framework common to all its foundations. For the geography of gender, it is not always necessary to look at a research subject from a neutral standpoint. This is because research studies that view gender as an issue cannot help but focus on the power relations. A critical stance is being sought.