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- Pauline Chakmakjian
Pauline founded The Japan Room to revive the salon atmosphere of eighteenth-century Europe from which speculative Freemasonry originated in combination with her friendship with Japan. She has many hobbies and interests. Pauline spends 2-3 months in Kyoto every year, usually during the spring and autumn. She is a volunteer for the Kyoto City International Foundation/Kyoto International Community House. Pauline is a Trustee of The Japan Society. www.japansociety.org.uk
- WEBサイト： The Japan Room
Women & Silence – Pauline Chakmakjian, MA
The cliché comment about Japan is that it is a stunning mixture of the old and the new all in one country.
We can observe this in the contrasts seen between traditional etiquettes merged with high technological
knowledge in business environments, the graceful castles, shrines and temples dotted all over the country
with flashing skyscrapers dominating larger Japanese cities and the enjoyment of the Japanese people of
old handicraft skills as well as the outrageous, younger expressions seen in manga, lolitas and the like.
Despite the merger of old and new, one thing that has never truly changed is the attitude towards women.
One outstanding example of this phenomenon in Japanese society to this day can be seen in the Imperial
Family. For a little over a decade now, Crown Princess Masako had been suffering from what is referred
to as an ‘adjustment disorder’ by the Imperial Household Agency. It was a relief to finally witness her
attend her first official overseas trip in 11 years – the Dutch coronation for King Willem-Alexander this April. However, although her condition appears to have improved, the trauma she has experienced switching
from a professional life in diplomacy to one in the rigid confines of courtly life will take much time to heal.
While outsiders may view what she has undergone as harsh, it is little wonder it happened. The very
essence of court life rests on tradition and the tradition of the Imperial Court of Japan was that women
ought to speak softly and place silence in the way of ambition. The second chapter of The Tale of Genji
declares, ‘…one should settle on someone wholly dependable, quiet, and steady,…’ It may seem unfair,
but court systems have such rules in order to retain their authority. However, outside the courtly life,
it is curious why this practice extends into the corporate world.
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