Women and Martial Art in Japan

11.05.2023 18:30 - 20:00

A hybrid u:japan lecture by Kate Sylvester (The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH)

| Abstract |

This lecture will focus on the ethnographic work and key arguments from Dr Kate Sylvester’s recent publication, Women and Martial Art in Japan.  The book, based on extensive original research, examines the practice by women in a university sport setting of kendo, the Japanese martial art which, using bamboo swords as well as protective armour, and descended from traditional swordsmanship, instils in its practitioners, besides physical skills, societal values of etiquette and resilience as well connecting them to a “traditional” outlook, which includes a gendered cultural identity.
   The book therefore illustrates an unexplored example of identity construction in Japan, one which legitimises women’s sport experiences within a male-centric physical culture, unpacks the notion of “tradition” in kendo and unravels its stultifying control over women’s kendo participation, and discusses the androgenicity of women’s participation to highlight its subversive potential to develop women as leaders in sport, politics, and other fields which continue to be very male dominated in Japan. 

| Bio |

Dr Kate Sylvester is a research affiliate of The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH). Her work intersects school club sport (bukatsudō), gender identity politics, and cross-cultural transformations of body culture with a special focus on Japanese martial arts (budō). Kate has trained and competed in kendo for 31-years across multiple (cultural, international) settings. She is the head coach of the Swedish Women’s National Kendo Team.  

| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s06e09
Thursday 2023-05-11, 18:30~20:00
max. 50 participants (on site) + max. 300 participants (online) 

| Place & Preparations | 

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact ujapanlectures.ostasien@univie.ac.at or visit https://japanologie.univie.ac.at/ujapanlectures/s06/#e09.


Department of East Asian Studies - Japanese Studies

Seminarraum 1 (Hof 2, Tür 2.4, EG)