Japanese women are breaking into the map industry by creating various uses for them. These women are out to prove that theories in the best-selling book “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women can’t Read Maps” are completely false.
For Ai Yashiro, 30, fascination with maps began when she arrived to Tokyo from Akita Prefecture to study at a university. She used maps to find meeting places for her friends and whenever she read the maps, she felt the towns were connected to each other. Yashiro works under Zenrin DataCom Co, a provider of map applications. Now Yashiro can use her creativity with maps to entertain and mesmerize readers. Hanae Watanabe, 24, is a lover of vintage maps and a geography and history major at Waseda University in Tokyo. Her love for maps began in junior high when she bought a map of Paris from the late 19th century to hang on her bedroom wall. Obsessed with the map’s accuracy, Watanabe has saved up money from her part-time job to visit major libraries around the world, including the British Library in the suburbs of London and the Library of Congress in Washington. Even popular actress, Miki Maya, has a keen fondness for maps, noting Ino Tadataka (1745-1818) as her respected idol.
Ino Tadataka is a surveyor and cartographer from the Edo Period and drew Japan’s first modern map. There is an obvious change in map creations and many more creations are on the rise. Masatoshi Arikawa, a professor of cartography at the University of Tokyo says creations of different types of maps are a result of an increasing number of women involved in the map making process.