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  • Dear Kojien DictionaryTomorrow Girls Troop
  • Reiko Tomii (bio)

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Tomorrow Girls Troop, Dear Kojien Dictionary (2017), ending still from music video (accessible in full on TGT's website). Courtesy of Tomorrow Girls Troop.

Tomorrow Girls Troop (TGT, Ashita Shōjotai in Japanese) define themselves as a fourthwave feminist social art collective based primarily on the Internet. According to their website (https://tomorrowgirlstroop.com), TGT "focus[es] on gender inequality issues in Japan and Korea through art and social projects" with the goal to "educate" and "achieve gender equality for all men, women, and members of the LGBT community."

Among their projects, the best-known is Against Forgetting, a performance event that centers on memorials for Korean comfort women and was staged in Los Angeles (2018) and Seoul (2019), in collaboration with the artist Shimada Yoshiko, and in Tokyo (2019). Some of their activist projects have brought about tangible real-life changes. A recent, albeit small, victory came with Dear Kojien Dictionary, a petition campaign that the group undertook in 2017 to urge the most authoritative Japanese dictionary to accurately reflect the goals of the feminist movement. When the publisher Iwanami Shoten issued its seventh edition, the entry "feminism" was substantially revised to include the [End Page 278]


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Definition of "feminism" and "feminist" in the 6th edition of Kōjien. Courtesy of Tomorrow Girls Troop.


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Definition of "feminism" and "feminist" in the 7th edition of Kōjien. Courtesy of Tomorrow Girls Troop.

phrases "liberation from sexism" and "equality," two key concepts absent from the sixth edition. Yet, the revision is still lacking on two counts. Above all, TGT believes that the goal of "equality" should not be limited to "both sexes" but include "people of all sexes and sexual identities." The second point concerns the second definition under the entry "feminist": "A man who is easy on women." "Colloquially means," which prefaced this second definition, in the sixth edition was removed in the seventh definition, and the new definition thereby erroneously enhances the impression of accuracy.

As a social art collective, TGT actively reaches out to engage a wider audience through easy-to-understand videos and lectures. For this project, they also created a music video, Dear Kojien Dictionary (2017) and incorporated the translation of the definitions from the sixth and seventh editions of the Kojien in their English-language presentation slides. TGT's highly effective activism blurs the boundary of what constitutes "art" and what forms an "artwork" can take. [End Page 279]

Reiko Tomii

Reiko Tomii is an independent art historian and curator who investigates post-1945 Japanese art in global and local contexts for the narration of a world art history of modernisms. Her research topic encompasses "international contemporaneity," collectivism, and conceptualism in 1960s art. She is Co-Founder/Co-Director of PoNJAGenKon, a scholarly listserv (www.ponja-genkon.net). Her recent publication Radicalism in the Wilderness: International Contemporaneity and 1960s Art in Japan (MIT Press, 2016), which received the 2017 Robert Motherwell Book Award, was turned into an exhibition Radicalism in the Wilderness: Japanese Artists in the Global 1960s at Japan Society Gallery in New York in 2019. In 2020, she received the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award from the Japanese government. (rtomii.js@gmail.com)

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Additional Information

ISSN
2329-9770
Print ISSN
0913-4700
Pages
pp. 278-279
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-16
Open Access
No
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