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Sexist vs Gender Roles

by Olga
(Ukraine)

I've got some organizational question.


In our dojo boys and girls train together. And before and after training we line up in the order according our grades, not by gender.

 But once we faced with the opinion that girls should only line after boys in the end of rank.

At the same time all latecomers line at the end of rank too. So it turns out that girls have to stay where later-comers stay.

It sounds not fair at least, because girls also train hard and worth being at their deserved places. Though that is just my opinion.

I've received some answer on that question. It was something like "girls are not in the end of rank, just think that they are in another rank".


But I've read that dōjō has strictly determined areas. And one of those areas is for beginners (shimoza, if I'm not mistaken), other is for experienced, other is for sensei etc. So it turns out that all girls are not experienced...

So can you please share your thoughts about the issue since I just don't understand that?

Are there any regulations notifying that girls should only line after boys by International Kendo Federation?

What about your dojo?

p.s. I know that the most important thing is to train and train again and train a lot, hard and sincere.

Answer:  This is rather cultural nowadays.  And of course, it is from male-oriented culture, but most of people (Japanese) do not question about it because that is how we have been doing for years.  

At my dōjō in Japan, they still follow that tradition. Girls sit as a group following boys.

Nowadays, in many dōjōs in Japan, the number of girls exceeds boys so of course they do not follow that rule anymore.

Gender Roles vs. Sexist
My dōjō in Japan is the headquarters of International Naginata Federation.

These naginata teachers were very traditional so even though these naginata girls were champions of all Japan naginata championships, they followed traditional Japanese gender roles.

Of course, it did not mean we treated them with no respect. If the girls were older and more experienced than I was, I talked to them in the polite Japanese with full respect.

We all knew that was how things worked at the dōjō (at least back then).

Custom s?

There is another situation.

I used to sit at kamiza than some higher ranks because that was how they did at my dōjō in Japan.

These high ranks were employees of the company (the dōjō sponsor) and these employees always sat (probably still do) at shimoza, no matter what grade they held.  Of course, they lined up in the kamiza-shimoza order among them.

However, it does not mean they were seen lower than others. That was just how they sat. Custom.

Personal Opinion
I personally disagree with the idea of that girls are inferior to boys. I do not think it is a good idea for girls sit at the shimoza because of their sex. 

I believe we have gender roles and the gender roles are different from culture to culture and they change as time changes.

I think you should talk about it with your kendo mates. Decide how you want to deal with the situation.  

If you go to another dōjō, you have to follow their rules but it is about your dōjō.  Think about what is the best for kendo in your city or country.

Kendo does not discriminate genders, races or who we are. Only people do.

Hope this helps.

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