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Ichikawa Fusae

(1893—1981)


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(b. 15 May 1893, d. 11 Feb. 1981).

Japanese women's rights campaigner Ichikawa's pedigree as a Japanese political activist was long and varied. In her twenties she worked as a journalist and also helped establish the New Women's Association (Shin fujin kyôkai) with Hiratsuka Raichô and Oku Mumeo in 1921. After visiting the US (1921–4), she returned to Tokyo to participate in the establishment of the local office of the International Labour Organization. She also became a leading figure in the League for the Achievement of Women Suffrage (Fusen kakutoku dômei). The League was dissolved in 1940 in compliance with the demands of the wartime regime. After the surrender and the emancipation of women that followed, Ichikawa became an enthusiastic supporter of the postwar democratic reforms.

 Ichikawa found herself purged by the occupation authorities in 1947 because of her involvement with the prewar regime and was unable to participate in any political activity until 1950. In the House of Councillors elections of 1955 she entered the Diet. As a nationally recognized politician, Ichikawa was a consistent champion of women's emancipation and political fairness. During the 1950s she sponsored legislation which outlawed prostitution, while in the 1970s she was a leading critic of big business's financial support for the corrupt politics of the Liberal Democratic Party. Viewed by many as an icon of Japanese citizens' movements, Ichikawa was an enduring example of what could be achieved without money in Japanese politics.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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