On February 28, 2020, Mr. Fumiya Uchikoshi, a PhD student of the Sociology Department, Princeton University, gave a talk titled, “Low Fertility, Population Aging, and Gender Inequality in Japan”. The event was hosted by Satsuki-kai America and co-hosted by Friends of UTokyo, NY Icho-kai, and the FUTI Alumni Association. Joined by ten UTokyo undergraduates visiting New York under the Taiken program, the audience of some 15 alumni, ranging from those in the 20’s to the 70’s, were engaged in a heated exchange of viewpoints reflecting their diverse experiences.
Mr. Uchikoshi’s comments are shown below.
On February 28, I was honored to give a talk at the FUTI/Satsuki-kai America lecture series. The talk was divided into two parts: One is about an overview of gender inequality in Japan and the other is about my own research focusing on consequences of gender inequality from a demographic perspective—later and less marriage, educational gradients in marriage, and spouse pairing patterns. It was attractive to me that the audience of this lecture consisted of both UTokyo undergrads and the alumni, so I decided to have a small discussion session to share their thoughts on causes of persistent gender inequality in Japan.
In the first half of the talk, I started an overview of gender inequality in Japan, with a bunch of new articles reporting sexism at UTokyo or elsewhere to stimulate attendees’ attention to this topic. I guess this approach actually worked well. When I presented several news articles that documented persistent gender inequality even at UTokyo, some alumni said it has been improved, but other recent graduates did not agree with that. I think both perspectives are correct in some sense—it is a sort of glass is half full or half empty phenomenon. The purpose of the talk was to make different ideas explicit there and exchange those ideas with each other. I hope the goal was achieved by taking advantage of the discussion session. I really appreciated the many attendees sharing their honest thoughts based on experience. I learned a lot from them, especially about how my research can contribute to the public in a broader sense.