VCL was the first lab I joined after coming to Duke, and at first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit in quickly and that I would have trouble participating in the discussions. But after joining the first meeting, I found that my worries were superfluous. All the professors in VCL were very friendly, willing to share their insights, good at listening to students’ ideas and gave professional advice.

At the first meeting, we graduate students were divided into small groups to lead discussions on several topics about cities. The discussion was completely improvised and interesting, and I also found that the undergraduate students on the same team were able to quickly find perspectives from their own knowledge areas even when they were faced with unfamiliar topics. They were able to improve their ideas under the guidance, and they had a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the topic.

In the lab, we can also learn a lot of diverse perspectives from the students of different teams. For example, Kate and I held a workshop on Omeka together, in which we talked about User’s Guide to Omeka, Dublin Core and Metadata, Omeka and Metadata, etc. So, it’s a pleasure to join VCL and discuss and learn with students from different backgrounds!

In Team Tokyo, we mainly explored the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. For this reason, I have some thoughts ideas:

【1】Determination, Modernization, Peace—First in Asia

Japan arranged for representatives of students born on the day of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 to light the main torch at the opening ceremony, showing Japan’s determination to rebuild its home after World War II.

Recovering from the devastation of war and after the era of militarism, Japan has rebuilt into a modern, peaceful democracy country. Japan has rapidly completed the construction of highways and high-speed trains.

As the people’s incomes increased, many Japanese families purchased televisions to watch the Olympics, which was the first time an Olympic event was broadcast live around the world via satellite. Also, this was the last Olympic Games to use the cinder track.

It is considered to be the turning point in Japan’s path to prosperity. In the four years following the Olympics, Japan became the world’s second largest economy, behind the United States.

As many Japanese entered the middle class, they purchased not only televisions, but other modern household appliances

“Japan was running, a country with a future,” says Hiromu Nagahara, an associate professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.


At the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, most of the female audience wore traditional Japanese dress kimonos, but most of the men wore modern dress suits.

While Japan’s emergence as an industrial powerhouse was built on strong social cohesion, this aspect of society often tends to suppress women, minorities, and other groups that do not conform to traditional expectations.

Japan ranks 120th out of 156 countries in terms of gender disparity, and many Japanese women find chairman’s comments reflect attitudes with which they are all too familiar.

The Olympic system is always fond of saying that sport is “one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls.” But when former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, was recently asked about increasing gender diversity on the Japan Olympic Committee board, his answer was that “women are too nagging.

“If we increase the number of women on the council, we have to try to limit their speaking time, and it’s difficult for them to finish their speeches,” Mori reportedly said at the commissioners’ meeting. “We have about seven female members on the organizing committee, but everyone knows their place.”

The JOC and the 2020 East Olympic Organizing Committee, chaired by Yoshiro Mori, have the important task of upholding gender equality in sports activities and preventing athletes from being unduly victimized. Japanese women are underrepresented as leaders in various sports associations. Human Rights Watch recently reported that there is a long history of abuse of minors, including young girls, in Japanese sports. But his comments were supported by traditionalists.

As the issue of #MeToo abuse has gained global attention, several female athletes in Japan, including gymnasts, swimmers and wrestlers, have made allegations of harassment and abuse. Olympic wrestler Shin Ichi, who won four consecutive gold medals, had to fight the Japan Wrestling Association to have her coach, who harassed her, expelled from the sport.

In Japan, women who complain of discrimination or sexual assault carry a heavy stigma. Official figures show that more than 95 percent of sexual violence incidents go unreported, in part because sexual assault is considered a “shameful” subject in Japan and many victims feel it is useless to report it.

The Japanese justice system is very hostile to victims of sexual violence. Women, including transgender women, still face profound discrimination. Women still face strong resistance to keeping their original family names after marriage. In 2018, Japan’s top medical universities admitted to covertly manipulating test scores to suppress female admissions.

The International Olympic Committee has stated that Olympic host countries must “prohibit any form of discrimination,” including gender discrimination. The talk by Yoshiro Mori suggests that the Japanese government’s attitude toward women needs to change, and sports is a good place to start.

Looking forward to meeting VCL again in spring 2022!