City cancels talk by noted sociologist for comments on sex

March 15, 2014


YAMANASHI, Yamanashi Prefecture--The mayor of Yamanashi city canceled a lecture by an esteemed sociologist because she has discussed the topic of sex in the past.

Chizuko Ueno, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, was scheduled to speak on March 18 about elderly care and how to prepare oneself to live alone until death. Among her many books, Ueno has written best-sellers about spending one’s final years without a family.

However, she has also written about sex and provided advice about relationships. And this topic was apparently too racy for some in the prefecture west of Tokyo.

“After examining the documents that were submitted, I made the judgment that she was unfit to be a lecturer for the city,” Yamanashi Mayor Seiki Mochizuki told The Asahi Shimbun on March 14.

According to Yamanashi city officials, Ueno was asked last autumn to give the lecture. The speech was announced in February, the same month that Mochizuki was elected mayor.

Although 164 people said they wanted to attend the lecture, the city government also received about 10 e-mails and other feedback that raised concerns about Ueno’s appropriateness to talk at a publicly funded event.

Those complaints touched upon comments Ueno had made on Twitter and in newspaper columns.

One example given was from the Dec. 8, 2012, edition of The Asahi Shimbun. In a weekly advice column, Ueno responded to a question submitted by a youth about his sexual urges. She explained what was involved in relationships with women.

Another message raised questions about the title of an earlier book by Ueno called “Sexy Gal no Daikenkyu” (Major research into sexy girls).

Ueno said the city official in charge of the lecture informed her by e-mail on March 5 that the event was canceled.

She asked the city to send an official document signed by the mayor. On March 12, a city government official handed her the letter and explained the situation.

“While there was some opposition due to issues that were unrelated to the theme of the lecture, I am not convinced because 164 people were looking forward to attending it,” Ueno said.

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Chizuko Ueno (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Chizuko Ueno (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Chizuko Ueno (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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