Frontiers of Gender Studies ジェンダー研究のフロンティア
お茶の水女子大学 ジェンダー研究センター 人間文化研究科 このサイトについて English Page
トップページ ニュース F-GENSについて プロジェクト編成 イベント 刊行物 若手研究者支援 リンク集

Institute for Gender Studies (IGS)
Department of Gender Studies, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences

The 21st Century COE Program, Ochanomizu University


About F-GENS

Tamie KAINOU, Program Leader

In July, 2003, “Frontiers of Gender Studies (F-GENS)” was selected by the Japanese Ministry of Education and Science to receive a large scale grant establishing it as a COE (Center of Excellence) program. F-GENS is one of 25 national grantees grouped under the category of “Interdisciplinary, Combined Fields and New Disciplines”. According to the Ministry, the 21st Century COE program was established in order to increase the competitiveness of Japanese universities and to enhance their role in the international academic community. It is a great honor that Ochanomizu University was chosen as a site for a COE program.

The word “gender” or ‘jenda,’ meaning the social and cultural constructiveness of what is termed ‘men’ or ‘women,’ is still a relatively unfamiliar concept among Japanese generally speaking. This is not surprising since it takes time for people to fully appreciate a loanword. What is more surprising is the tardiness of the concept’s academic recognition. Despite the fact that the term ‘jenda’ entered the Kojien, a prestigious Japanese dictionary, as early as 1991, only in 2000 did the concept find official recognition as a category or, more precisely, a temporary subcategory of Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research. Two years later, in 2002 this category has finally been awarded a permanent status within the research field of “Combined Fields and New Disciplines.”

This accomplishment owes a great deal to past and present researchers in women’s studies, feminist criticism and gender/sexuality studies as well as activists, stateswomen, statesmen, administrators and other people who have devoted themselves to the realization of gender equality. The Basic Law on Gender Equality legislated in 1999 also made an important contribution to recent growing awareness of gender problematics.

Ochanomizu University, a national women’s university founded originally in 1875 under the name Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School, has contributed to this process in recent years most particularly through the research and educational activities of the Institute for Gender Studies (IGS) and of the Department of Gender Studies at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences. After IGS’s reorganization in 1996, numerous national and internationally based scholars and visiting professors have joined in promoting research and higher education in fields related to its mission.

The institutional base of gender studies in Japan, however, is as yet far from being fully developed. Out of 649 universities, there is still none that offers an undergraduate program in women’s studies or gender studies. Also, to our knowledge, of 346 universities with doctoral programs, there are only three - including our own - where students can work toward a post graduate degree. This institutional deficit is all the more acutely felt as Japanese society is currently experiencing profound structural changes, including the aging of the society, internationalization, the fragmentation of labor markets, rapid introduction of new technologies (biotechnologies, informational and communicational technologies, etc.), all of which profoundly impact the gender configuration. These changes must be studied from a gendered perspective, so that the conditions necessary to create a society where gender equality and the individual diversity are both respected can be adequately spelled out.

With 16 regular members and over 50 associates and collaborators, including scholars from abroad, F-GENS aims to commit itself to just such an endeavor. The program will be put into effect over a period of five academic years, 2003-2007. Through its activities (cf. Program outline), we seek to explore the frontiers of gender studies, promoting close exchanges and collaborations with our counterparts in Asia as well as in other parts of the world. It will be our greatest pleasure to see our program truly contribute to the international effort for the advancement of gender studies.

Tokyo, 16 October 2003


F-GENS’s program seeks to reexamine impending domestic and global issues from a gender perspective, thereby establishing at our university an academic frontier of gender studies. Our investigative project is rooted in the historical experience of Japan and Asia and is consequently intended to contribute to the advancement of gender equality within and outside of Japan.

The following four projects are the constituent parts of F-GENS:

Project A Gender Equality, Cultural Diversity & Public Policy
Project B Reproductive Labor, Work & the Economy
Project C Body, Medical Care, Science & Technology
Project D Theory & Representation

Working in close collaboration, scholars in each of the four projects will pursue a common, overarching sociopolitical and cultural analysis of modern gender formation in order to reconfigure “woman,” “family,” “community,” and “state,” and ultimately to open a new perspective on “human development”. Our objective is to present to local as well as the central government new gender-conscious policy proposals for use and implementation. To this end, F-GENS is committed to improving the research environment for future generations of scholars in gender studies and to training researchers, administrators, and citizens accredited to work in these related fields.


Our program objectives include the following:
1. innovation of a gender studies rationale that responds to issues imminent in the globalizing world;
2. highlighting an inter-disciplinary gender studies that can rethink aspects of pre-established disciplinarity in light of the findings of gender studies;
3. the invention of a gender studies that is the consequence of inter-Asian dialogue and is rooted in the historical experience and systems of thought current in this part of the world;
4. and finally, the establishment of an inter-Asian network of gender studies that can facilitate exchange of scholars and contribute to the promotion of future generation of scholars.

To achieve these objectives our plan calls for enhancing on-campus collaboration between Ochanomizu University’s Institute for Gender Studies and the Graduate School of the Humanities and Sciences. This restructuring will promote multilateral and systematic research in the new discipline of Gender Studies and will form a firm basis for pursuing an academic Asian network in gender studies through various channels with elite universities and research institutes in the region.

Research Plans

In the year 2003, we have committed to the following agenda:
1. establishing a research framework as well as an organizational environment for each of the four projects;
2. involving the larger project as a whole in the effort to design a database of cultural representations and historical materials on gender and modernity;
3. to launch the pilot for our planned macro scale panel surveys on gender equality in selected countries in Asia;
4. to convene an inter-project symposium, “Perceptions of Asia and Gender,” with the intent of facilitating firm linkages among campus research projects;
5. creating a support systems for junior scholars and graduate students;
6. launching the F-GENS website as a means of disseminating our results and information globally and
7. establishing an international advisory committee composed of prominent scholars.

Our plan for 2004 calls for work to continue in each of the four sub-projects as well as heightened attention to the inter-group tasks of the database on cultural representations and the panel surveys. This year we will also convene a symposium with the objective of sharing the sub-groups findings with the larger Project research community. We will initiate the Advisory Committee’s first program review of our achievements. On the basis of the Committee’s findings and our own evaluation of our progress we will review and map out the second stage of our project.

We project that the years 2005 and 2006 will be spent pursuing inter-project activities and finely focused sub-project level research programs. Furthermore, three kinds of symposia organized to produce (1) interim report, (2) inter-disciplinary dialogue, and (3) a policy proposal will be held. These symposia are expected to consolidate the four research projects into a coherent whole.

The final year of the project is devoted to summing up our five-year research and producing outcomes in the form of publications.

Educational Plans

To support the students and junior scholars, the following programs will be launched. These programmatic steps are intended to encourage broad participation of junior researchers, administrators, feminist activists working in NPOs or NGOs, teachers, juridical officers, and journalists and to renew their skills:
1. call for applications for research grants in gender studies;
2. workshops organized by and for junior scholars and researchers;
3. expand the number of research assistantships available as a means of fostering new research;
4. encouraging junior researchers to participate in faculty research projects at each phase (planning, implementation, and evaluation);
5. hosting overseas students and visiting scholars, as well as expanding exchanges with overseas research institutes and universities;
6. encouraging students to engage in overseas research and preparing students to give research papers in foreign language fora.

Program Members

Tamie KAINOU, M.A., Program Leader, Project Leader for Project A, sociology of law, feminist legal studies, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Ruri ITO, Ph.D., sub-leader for Project A, sociology, ethnic & migration studies, Professor, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University
Keichi KUMAGAI, M.A., Project A, Oceania area studies, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Mariko ADACHI, M.A., Project A, feminist political economy,Associate Professor, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University
Nobuko NAGASE, Ph.D., Project Leader for Project B (for 2003), labor economics, social policy, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Michiko MIFUNE, M.A., sub-leader for Project B (for 2003), domestic sciences, home economics, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Isao MIZUNO, Ph.D., Project B, economic geography, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Eiko SHINOTSUKA, Ph.D., Project B, feminist economics, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Kaoru TACHI, M.A., Project Leader for Project C, women’s / gender studies, Professor, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University
Hiroko HARA, Ph.D., Project C, cultural anthropology, Adjunct Professor, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University (Professor, University of Air)
Azumi, TSUGE, Ph.D., sub-leader for Project C, medical anthropology, Visiting Professor, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University (Professor, Meiji Gakuin University)
Emiko NAMIHIRA, Ph.D., Project C, medical anthropology, Director, Institute for Gender Studies; Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Kazuko TAKEMURA, Ph.D., Project Leader for Project D, critical theory, Anglophone literature, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Chika AMANO, Ph.D., sub-leader for Project D, history of European arts, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Michiko ISHIZUKA, M.A., Project D, Caribbean area studies, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University
Satoko KAN, Ph.D., Project D, modern Japanese literature, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sciences, Ochanomizu University

Contact Address
Frontiers of Gender Studies (F-GENS)
The 21st Century COE Program, Ochanomizu University
2-1-1 Otsuka Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 112-8610 Japan
Tel. +81-3-5978-5547
Fax. +81-3-5978-5548

[Note] F-GENS would like to thank Professor Tani E. Barlow for her contribution during the revision of the text.