Jef United Ichihara Chiba Ladies held a group discussion on February 4th, at the Fukuda Denshi Arena with the students from Sarashina Junior High School in Chiba City, along with the members of the Women's Active Promotion Department of Ichihara City. The theme of the discussion was "Why are the toilet pictograms blue and red?” Sarashina Junior High School has the smallest number of students in the whole of Chiba City, with only 35 students in total, but the four students who participated in the discussion were very interested and motivated to participate in this project.
This theme was one of the issues raised at the WE ACTION MEETING held by the WE LEAGUE during the 2021-22 season. The Chiba club chose this as the theme for this roundtable discussion to try resolving the issue.
The players from the Jef United Ichihara Chiba Ladies were divided into two tables: the group facilitated by Yuki Togawa included Ami Otaki, Yuki Ogawa, Kirara Fujio, and Makoto Tasaki, while the other group facilitated by Remina Chiba included Natsuki Kishikawa, Yuka Anzai, Hinata Kobayashi, and Akane Okuma. Two students from Sarashina Junior High School each joined the group, as well as their teachers and Ichihara City staff.
First, before the discussion, the history of the pictogram was explained: pictograms were adopted for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and this became the basis for the "blue and red" color as well as the “pants and skirt" mark. After hearing about how they are used at theme parks and World Cup game sites, a brainstorming session was held under the theme of "Let's think of an original toilet mark for Fukuda Denshi Arena.”
During the discussion, there was a lively exchange of ideas, such as "The blue and red colors are well established in many people's minds, so there is no need to change them," or "What if we use animals such as lions instead of human symbols?” The groups then shared their collective opinions, which were further summarized to finally come up with a new toilet mark suggestion.
After the discussion, Togawa, who facilitated the discussion with Chiba said, "To make this time meaningful, I thought it would be better to have a purpose, so we set a goal of 'changing the toilet mark of the Fukuda Arena. Since it is a public property, should it be the shape or the color that is important (so that the public can easily understand)? We were able to reconfirm that in reality, the identification of “blue and red” is pervasive because we all thought deeply about it and discussed it together," as she reassured the significance of this project.
Kikuchi Marina, a second-year student at Sarashina Junior High School said, "I had never been aware of the color of toilets until I participated in this event. I thought that the appearance and colors used for the restroom markings are a matter of taste, so if there are many people who find them problematic, we need to make changes in this area.”
Sae Toyoda, also a second-year student commented, "It was a good experience for me to be exposed to opinions and ways of thinking that I did not previously have. Through this discussion, I realized that I had not been aware of the issues around me. I would like to have more opportunities to encounter gender and social issues like this in the future."
Regarding her impression of the WE LEAGUERS with whom she discussed gender issues, they both said, "They are all beautiful and cool. And they are kind and great people."
The ideas for the bathroom mark that were presented on the day will be further developed, as they plan to create opportunities for people to see them at games and other venues.