A feature article about Square Dancing in Japan brought some questions to my mind. I asked the author, Martha Ogasawara some questions about dancing in Japan
John: If the callers are not paid, then who pays for the records and sound equipment?
Martha: Quite often the callers. Some clubs give their callers a record allowance. Some clubs own their own equipment, and sometimes the caller lends or rents it to the club. This varies a lot I think.
John: Are you able to have good callers and cuers with no pay?
Martha: Oh yes. Since none gets paid, money is not even an issue. I'd say that quite likely, the average level of the callers and cuers is possibly higher than the US (although it's hard to make such broad generalizations).
John: Why do so few men participate? Is it a cultural thing?
Martha: Yes, I guess so. Although I think that if women could participate without their spouses in the US then you'd have a lot more women there too. I think in general woman like to dance more than men (or at least or not afraid to try it). Another big reason more men don't participate here is because they work too much and don't have the time for outside hobbies.
John: Do men in Japan dance other forms of dance?
Martha: Not really, although ballroom dancing has become mildly popular in the last few years. But there are a lot more women dancing ballroom also.
John: Do you hug in Japan, or do you bow to one another?
Martha: Despite the fact (or perhaps because of it?) that Japan is such a small country, people here have large personal body spaces. In general, Japanese don't touch each other very much. However, dancers probably tend to be more "touchy" than the general population. Even so, yellow rocks are not comfortable for many people.
John: You said that SD'ing started about 50 years ago. That surprises me. Why would the Japanese want to do anything American shortly after WW2? I would think it would have taken a generation for the Japanese to want to do anything that was from American.
Martha: It was brought in by the occupation force as a form of easy entertainment and people were generally encouraged to try it.
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