It’s no accident that BWIJ has experienced tremendous growth since its inception three years ago. It’s the result of what women like those featured in this article bring to the group. And finally the time has come for their first national convention! It’s happening this month (March 25th) in Tokyo!
Black Eye chatted with four members of the group to get the details on why the group has grown so much and so fast, and how it’s helping women of color living here in Japan live happier lives.
Here’s an excerpt:
“One day, Stephanie and I went to this African Festa in Nagoya. All of the vendors there were African, but all of the entertainment was Japanese. There wasn’t even one black face. We were just sitting there shaking our heads, thinking, ‘This isn’t right.’
“It wasn’t that these Japanese performers were deliberately mocking African culture. I think they were trying to be very respectful about it, but they had forgotten to include African people in their efforts to represent Africa,” Haye Matsui says. “Usually in these kinds of multicultural events, there’s a sharing of culture, and it just wasn’t there.”
The two began putting together the initial plans for what would eventually become BWIJ. There were already groups centered around black issues, but none were tailored specifically for women.
So their mission was simple: to provide a destination for women of African descent who, for a myriad of reasons, are not seeing accurate representations of themselves anywhere — not in the media or on the internet — and feel fairly isolated here because of this. BWIJ became a place where they can enjoy a sense of community, peopled with knowledgeable and supportive women who have or are currently facing similar experiences and challenges living in this otherwise lovely nation.
If you’d like to read more about BWIJ, please follow the link here: Black Women in Japan’s First National Convention
And to join the group, here’s a link to their Facebook Page: Black Women in Japan Facebook Page
Thanks and enjoy.