January 30, 2007

Sure Enough, He Said "Women Are Birthing Machines"

The first wire report over the weekend of Japanese Health Minister, 71-year old Hakuo Yanagisawa, calling women "baby-birthing machines" was the Kyodo English service, and though I dug around, I couldn't find the actual Japanese quote anywhere. Was it one of those odd context or translation things, I wondered?

baby_birthing_machine.jpg

Uh, no. According to eyewitness reports, Yanagisawa used the term repeatedly, interspersed with apologies like "Sorry to call them 'machines,' but..." that were the of "sorry you feel bad when you hear this," not the "sorry I put it this way" variety.

And yes, chaos has ensued.

Japanese leader reprimands health minister who called women 'birth-giving machines' [iht.com, first via tokyomango]

1 Comment

Taken in-context, it was sort of poor wordsmithing at worst, but out of context it's pretty damn offensive.

It's shaken my image of Japanese old-boys-club politicians, though; I would have expected they thought women were "drink pouring machines"... :)

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