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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

WORDS TO LIVE BY

Minori Kitahara


Minori Kitahara, 35, is the owner of Love Piece Club, Japan's first sex-toy shop owned by a woman and catering exclusively to women. She believes that women deserve their sexual fun and games and she has just the right toys for them.

Minori Kitahara
Minori Kitahara

My kind of feminism is not anti-pornography. Most feminists believe that porn is for men and that it is terrible to make money on sex. I disagree: Porn is fun and doesn't exploit women. Women appearing in porn do it as work and get paid for it.

It's the world that's screwed up, not me. As a teenager I had long hair and was into boys, but at school I was told that my behavior was not girlish enough so I thought something was wrong with me. I felt awkward and searched for answers, and feminist writings saved me from my self-loathing. Those books told me that I was OK.

Sex is about pleasure, laughter and fun and not a race to get an orgasm.

Being loved by others feels nice, but loving oneself is the greatest feeling. When I was younger I just wanted to be loved and I thought that I had to be feminine to get affection. I got it, yet I was not happy. Then I realized that what I really needed was to accept myself as I was.

I live in the present. Right now I am a lesbian, but who knows what I will be tomorrow. One's sexuality changes with time and with the connection to a new partner.

Japanese vibrators are very good because they use advanced technology. But for me, the design and material are very important so my dream is to manufacture the kind of sex toys I want to use.

All working women are feminists, whether they like it or not and regardless of whether they know what feminism is. If a woman has a job and can support herself so that she can live on her own, then I think she qualifies to be called a feminist.

It is dangerous for a woman to flaunt her sexuality. If a woman likes sex, she often becomes a target because many people mistakenly assume that it is OK to do just about anything to her.

Violence is a mostly male pre-occupation. Violence against women is common all over the world yet we rarely hear of women beating up men. The reality is that men commit crimes against women every day. Very few women do the same. Rape, beatings, murder . . . these horrors are what men do to women.

Nowadays women have less to complain about. The era of leftwing, militant feminism is over. In the 1960s and '70s Japanese members of the women's liberation movement were very vocal, but today even women who think of themselves as feminists are content and mostly married.

The news makes me sick. I don't read newspapers or magazines and I never watch TV. I want to shelter myself from the pain that is presented as news and how issues are discussed. I am especially disgusted by how crimes against women are examined.

If you don't use sex toys, you are missing out on a lot of fun. Think of them as different cuisines that can spice up your life.

Sex was not a taboo when I was growing up. Although we didn't talk about it at home, it was there, all around me. My grandmother ran a ryokan and a love hotel, and as a child I used to peek into the rooms and watch couples make love.

I hate public transportation because I can't stand the pictures of half-nude women staring at me from all over. Looking at such images in the privacy of one's home is fine but bombarding the public with them is not.

School sex education needs to be more hands-on. Teachers talk about sex but they also need to show how to use a condom, actually opening the package and putting it on something so kids understand what it is and how to use it.

Size does matter. Many people disagree, but I find that just like people come in all shapes and sizes, so our genitalia varies as well. This is why we carry and sell so many styles and sizes.

Having children is a lot of responsibility. I don't want to have children because raising them seems too much of a long-term commitment and a serious responsibility. I guess the older a woman gets, the more she weighs the pros and cons of child-rearing and the more she thinks about it, the less likely it is that she would still want to have a child.

Sex is not an issue. Many sexless couples are blissfully happy while others, who make love often, are miserable. A good balance is best but hard to achieve.

The "family registry" (koseki to-hon) should disappear. It is just a tool to keep track of people and it allows discrimination against many of them.

Big is scary: I'll never want to make this into a big business. I have no aspirations to expand my business. I just want to widen my horizons and understanding of the world.

Sex is just a normal daily activity like eating, talking, sitting, walking. It should be fun and funny: come and laugh.

Selling sex toys is not different from selling clothes. I work with my mother but we don't talk about sex. For us, sex toys are like clothes, if they fit and sell well, wonderful, if not, we don't order them again. Buy what suits and fits you. No returns!

People in exciting jobs often lead very ordinary lives. People assume that because I sell sex toys, my life is filled with joy and laughter and wild parties, but the reality is far from this. I work a lot and that's it.

Judit Kawaguchi loves to listen. She is a volunteer counselor and a TV reporter on NHK's "Weekend Japanology" www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/japanology_e.html


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