Shu Matsuo Post is living a life full of stereotype-breaking in Japan. He is a powerful endurance athlete without eating any meat, dairy or fish proteins, took paternity leave, and he is an advocate for gender-equality while living and working in Japan.
Shu's new book, "I Took Her Name" shares his personal stories from his life in both Japan and abroad. The stories he tells in the book are from situations that has helped him to not only become more aware of his privilege and need to speak up about gender-equality, but which has also helped him feel more free to be the kind of person he wants to be, and embrace his feminine side. There are many interesting insights for anyone living in, studying Japanese culture, or visiting Japan.
As he now starts he journey as a father who took paternity leave, despite the pressures not to, he says he feels more ready to take on his role as mentor and role-model for his son.
I admit I was skeptical at first about reading a book written by a Japanese man about feminism- I'm so tired of men in power in Japan making policies for women as if they really understand our needs.
But both reading the book and talking with Shu has sparked so many ideas in me about his feeling of constraint as a member of the majority group as a man and as a Japanese national. He felt more free to be himself when outside of Japan, and that international experience gave him more confidence to speak out once he returned. There is also a burden of expectation in Japanese society for men. Shu was brave to put up with all the red-tape to change his own name after marriage, putting himself in the shoes of women.