REPORTS

The 2nd Installment Report on Talk Series on “Inequity, Stereotypes, and Stigma in Leisure”

Kohei Sugiyama (Project Researcher, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, the University of Tokyo)

・Date : February 19, 2021 (Fri.) 17:00 ~ 18:30
・Venue : Zoom Meeting
・Language : Japanese
・Talk 1 : Koichi Utagawa (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Nursing Science, St. Luke’s International University)
“Hobbyization and Genderization of Hobbies in Prewar Japan: Focusing on the Lower Secondary School-Aged Population”
・Talk 2 : Momoko Aono (Ph.D Student, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University)
“Significance and Challenges of Leisure Exercises Using Social Media”
・Moderator : Yuko Itatsu (Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo)

The second installment of the talk series “Inequity, Stereotypes, and Stigma in Leisure” was held on Friday, February 19, 2021. In this talk, there were two presentations from Koichi Utagawa (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Nursing Science, St. Luke’s International University) and Momoko Aono (Doctoral Student, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University). Both of them introduced their recent research on “Inequity, Stereotypes, and Stigma in Leisure.”

 

First, Dr. Utagawa gave a presentation on “Hobbyization and Genderization of Hobbies in Prewar Japan: Focusing on the Lower Secondary School-Aged Population.” In his book Women’s Leisure and Japanese Modernity: The Reception of Hobbies in Music Culture (2019, Keiso Shobo), he traced the process by which the concept of “hobby” was established in Japan while being connected to women’s self-formation. As an extension of this work, he is currently examining how men had “hobbies” from the 1900s to the 1930s, and how this contrasted with the case of women, in order to clarify the process of genderization of hobbies.

 

One of the things that he focuses on is the role that “school” played. Schools are still the site of hobbies in the form of club activities, and the same was true for school activities at that time. In addition, essays and editorials discussing hobbies were sometimes published in school magazines. The lower secondary school education in the prewar period was separated for boys and girls, and the system and curriculum were different. In his view, the school activities of the lower secondary school may have been one of the sites that shaped the gendered hobbies of the students.

 

It is interesting to note that the “hobbies” expressed in the school magazine were “a means of enriching the family life” in the case of high school girls, while in the case of the lower secondary school, they were “objects of their own interest.” Hobbies for girls had been discussed since the 1910s, but it was not until the 1930s that hobbies for boys began to be discussed. Furthermore, the contrast in the way hobbies are discussed between boys and girls seems to have had some influence on the hobbies of today.

 

Next, Momoko Aono gave a presentation on “Significance and Challenges of Leisure Exercises Using Social Media.” She focused on women who watch YouTube videos on dance, yoga, and muscle training.

 

In the restrictive circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel that we are not getting enough exercise, but the “inability to play sports and exercise” has always been a source of concern for us. There have been various barriers to participation in sports and exercise, such as being too busy with work and housework to exercise, not wanting to play sports because it costs money, and not wanting to be seen exercising ……. In this context, it is interesting to note that the pandemic has also become a new opportunity for women in their teens and twenties to start exercising. According to the Sasakawa Sports Foundation’s “public survey on the influence of COVID-19 on exercise and sports,” a higher percentage of respondents started some kind of exercise, such as muscle training or gymnastics, in addition to walking, compared to other age groups or men.

 

It was on YouTube and Instagram that the women were getting information about exercise. It seems that sports trainers and other creators posted videos of exercises such as “stretching in 10 minutes” and “dance to lose weight,” and a certain number of people started exercising at home while watching the videos.

 

So far, we can conclude that social networking sites have lowered the barrier to participation in exercise, but Ms. Aono points out the format of tutorial videos and the content of advertisements displayed. Some tutorial videos not only explain how to do the exercise, but also emphasize phrases such as “slim legs” or “slim stomach.” She raised the issue that while social networking sites make it easy to exercise at home, there are also “other people’s gaze” on one’s appearance and body shape, which can hinder healthy participation in sports and exercise.

 

The participants actively asked questions and expressed their opinions about the presentations. How do hierarchy and market relate to women’s and men’s hobbies? Is the format of Japanese tutorial videos similar to that of foreign videos, or is it changing? I look forward to the future research of Dr. Utagawa and Ms. Aono. We will continue to promote the study group.