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Nov 02, 2020 Article
Masculine public image of six scientific fields in Japan: physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, information science, mathematics, and biology

by Yuko Ikkatai, Azusa Minamizaki, Kei Kano, Atsushi Inoue, Euan McKay and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

U.S. and other publics perceive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields as masculine and scientist as a male occupation, but Japanese public perception remains unstudied. Using an online survey, we identified keywords associated with physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, information science, biology, and mathematics. A second online survey showed that the Japanese public perceived both keywords and fields as masculine. This trend was stronger in individuals with less egalitarian attitudes towards gender roles. We suggest that attitude towards gender roles contributes to the masculine image of science in Japan.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020

Mar 09, 2020 Article
Gender-biased public perception of STEM fields, focusing on the influence of egalitarian attitudes toward gender roles

by Yuko Ikkatai, Azusa Minamizaki, Kei Kano, Atsushi Inoue, Euan McKay and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

Many studies have examined the impression that the general public has of science and how this can prevent girls from choosing science fields. Using an online questionnaire, we investigated whether the public perception of several academic fields was gender-biased in Japan. First, we found the gender-bias gap in public perceptions was largest in nursing and mechanical engineering. Second, people who have a low level of egalitarian attitudes toward gender roles perceived that nursing was suitable for women. Third, people who have a low level of egalitarian attitudes perceived that many STEM fields are suitable for men. This suggests that gender-biased perceptions toward academic fields can still be found in Japan.

Volume 19 • Issue 01 • 2020

Jun 14, 2019 Article
How science, technology and innovation can be placed in broader visions — Public opinions from inclusive public engagement activities

by Kei Kano, Mitsuru Kudo, Go Yoshizawa, Eri Mizumachi, Makiko Suga, Naonori Akiya, Kuniyoshi Ebina, Takayuki Goto, Masayuki Itoh, Ayami Joh, Haruhiko Maenami, Toshifumi Minamoto, Mikihiko Mori, Yoshitaka Morimura, TAMAKI Motoki, Akie Nakayama and Katsuya Takanashi

This study investigates how different segments of the public, with varying degrees of interest in S&T, could formulate opinions on a broader vision and the role they think STI should play in Japanese society through 2020 (Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic year) and toward 2030. We conducted nine inclusive public engagement activities. Results indicated that the broad public opinions did not completely overlap with officials' opinions, a value of “open and appropriate” was mainly found from the unengaged public, and the visions and values based on their opinions could well be incorporated into the official document. Engaging the disinterested in S&T remains an issue.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

Oct 03, 2018 Practice Insight
Engaging with policy practitioners to promote institutionalisation of public participation in science, technology and innovation policy

by Mitsuru Kudo, Go Yoshizawa and Kei Kano

This paper is a reflective account of a public participation project the authors conducted in Japan in 2012–2015, as part of the central government's initiative for evidence-based policy-making. The reflection focusses on three key aspects of the project: setting a precedent of involving public participation in policy-making; embedding an official mechanism for public participation in policy-making process; and raising policy practitioners' awareness of public participation. We also discuss why we think engaging with policy practitioners, while problematic in various ways, is and will continue to be important in promoting institutionalised practice of public participation.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018

Nov 28, 2011 Article
Scientists' attitudes toward a dialogue with the public: a study using "science cafes"

by Eri Mizumachi, Kentaro Matsuda, Kei Kano, Masahiro Kawakami and Kazuto Kato

Currently, science is developing rapidly and its influence on society is more significant than ever. This is all the more reason for today’s scientists to interact with the general public. To design effective science communication activities, we must understand scientists’ motivations and barriers to publicly communicating science. In this study, we interviewed 19 early-career scientists who had participated in science cafes in Japan. From these interviews, we identified five factors leading to their reluctance to participate in science cafes: 1) troublesome or time-consuming; 2) pressure to be an appropriate science representative; 3) outside the scope of their work; 4) could not perceive any benefit; and 5) apprehension about dialogue with the public. Among these factors, apprehension about dialogue may be the clearest reflection of the scientists’ underlying feelings about this form of communication and an indicator of more intrinsic barriers to engaging in science cafes.

Volume 10 • Issue 04 • 2011