World

Magazine Forced to Apologize for Ranking Universities Based on 'Sexual Availability' of Female Students

A Japanese magazine has been forced to apologize after ranking universities based on how easy it was to have sex with female students. Weekly men’s magazine Spa! published the list in its December 25 issue, in which it detailed how easy it was to have sexual relationships with female students at different schools across Japan.

The magazine went so far as to list five universities whose female students were "easily available" at drinking parties. In Japan, these kinds of events are described as "gyaranomi," where male participants pay women to attend.

Read more: William Shatner blasted for "hysterical" #MeToo comments: "You are in denial" 

According to Spa!, attending gyaranomi is particularly popular among female college students and the tabloid magazine explained what a woman’s clothing and her appearance indicate to men in terms of her sexual availability.

"We would like to apologise for using sensational language to appeal to readers about how they can become intimate with women and for creating a ranking [...] with real university names [...] that resulted in a feature that may have offended readers," the magazine said in a statement issued on Tuesday, as reported by Agence France-Presse.

The apology came after a petition accusing the magazine of “sexualising, objectifying and disrespecting women” was launched on change.org by Kazuna Yakomoto. The petition, which called for the magazine to retract the article and issue an apology, had amassed over 37,000 signatures by Tuesday.

"Japan will be having the first G20 summit this year, 2019, and it is ridiculous for an article such as this to be published. It's not funny at all," Yakomoto wrote on the petition page.

"I would like to fight so that, especially on public articles such as this one, sexualising, objectifying and disrespecting women would stop. We demand Shuukan Spa take this article back and apologize, and promise to not use objectifying words to talk about women."

In its article, Spa! also included an interview with the developer of an app designed to make it easier for members of both sexes to find attendees for gyaranomi parties.

In the apology, the magazine suggested the ranking was based on data it received from the developer of the app. "On issues that involve sex, we will do what we can as a magazine to listen to various opinions,” it said.

Japan has been much slower than its Western counterparts in addressing issues raised by the #MeToo movement and has persistently ranked low in worldwide gender equality rankings.

The outrage over the magazine comes just a month after an investigation launched by the Japanese government found at least nine medical schools tampered with admissions, partly to exclude female students.

Tokyo Medical University, Kitasato University and Juntendo University were among the nine schools found guilty of treating students differently based on their sex.