Based on a Japanese puzzle game and the famous speech by early feminist leader Kishida Toshiko, this game asks players to identify the obstacles to the freedom of young women and then remove them one at a time.
Making the game is a key part of the activity. In teams, participants:
- what does freedom look like? (be concrete and specific -- e.g., have enough money to be independent, be able to make your own choices about what to wear, etc.)
- what are the obstacles young women face? (concrete and specific)
- top five elements of freedom
- top ten obstacles
- Make the "Box" playing board
- Make the "Daughter"
- Make obstacles
- Like in Rush Hour, the obstacles are arranged to make it hard for the Daughter to escape. Groups can choose different obstacles and arrange them in different ways. This can be an interesting discussion. (The game Rush Hour is a good template for this. -- It may be useful to copy configurations from Rush Hour, to get the different degrees of difficulty and to ensure that they can be solved. On the other hand, if teams create a configuration that cannot be solved, that could lead to interesting discussion.)
- This can be done as individuals or as teams. Ideally, people should explain what the daughter does to move each obstacle. E.g., if an obstacle is "she doesn't have money," the player can say, "She gets a part-time job." The moves and explanations should be recorded so they can be evaluated later, in a de-brief. It is important to play the game freely, with a natural tempo.
- After playing a few rounds, describe what happened in the different rounds, and de-brief:
- What did you see? Which obstacles stood out to you? Which configuration was most difficult?
- How did the daughter overcome the obstacles? What actions did she take? Were they realistic?
- Have you ever faced any of these obstacles? When? Why? How did you deal with them?
- Where do these obstacles come from? Who creates them? Why? Can they be permanently removed? How?
- [your de-brief questions here]
- The original speech by Kishida Toshiko: "Daughters in Boxes" translated by Rebecca Copeland and Aiko Okamoto MacPhail (in Copeland, Rebecca and Ortabasi, Melek. 2006. The Modern Murasaki: Writing by Women of Meiji Japan. Columbia University Press. NY)
Participants should choose one or two sentences that most interest them and write a response. Share the responses in pairs or groups and discuss.
A Box without Walls:
Kishida says she wants to create a "box without walls." Design your own box without walls? What is the right box for you? Draw your box without walls. Share and discuss.
Needless to say (?), this game can be adapted for different gender identities, social positions, etc., e.g. students in boxes, teachers in boxes, etc. But the link to the original feminist project is important to preserve.