Today’s Dame of the Day is Junko Tabei (September 22, 1939-). While studying English literature in college, Tabei founded the Ladies’ Climbing Club. After climbing Mount Fuji and other large mountains around Japan, Tabei decided to go big. In 1975, she became the first woman to summit Mount Everest and, in 1992, became the first woman to complete the Seven Summits. When she’s not climbing, Tabei continues to champion environmental preservation.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Keiko Fukuda (April 12, 1913-Feburary 9, 2013). Growing up in Japan, Fukuda began practicing judo; her parents allowed it because they thought she would eventually marry one of her instructors. Over the course of her career, she became the highest ranking woman in the sport’s history. At the age of 98, Fukuda was promoted to the rank of 10th dan; only fifteen people have reached this level, and Fukuda is the first woman to achieve it.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Ariana Miyamoto (May 12, 1994-). Born and raised in Sasebo, Japan, Miyamoto became the first biracial woman to win the Miss Japan Pageant in 2015. But being half black in a homogeneously Asian country led to an onslaught of criticism arguing that Miyamoto was not “Japanese enough.” Through her position, Miyamoto hopes to change the conversation about race in Japan.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Yayoi Kusama (March 22, 1929-). This Japanese writer and artist inspired Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and their contemporaries during her time in New York. Not content to confine herself to one medium, Kusama experimented with abstract expressionist painting, collage, sculpture, and performance-based happenings. (One such event involved naked participants covered in rainbow-colored polka dots. While she eventually returned to Japan, Kusama continued to produce work. In 2008, one of her pieces set a record for living female artists when it sold for $5.1 million.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Nobuko Yoshiya (January 12, 1896-July 11, 1973). Born at the end of the 19th century, Yoshiya became a pioneer novelist writing for adolescent girls and women. In particular, her Class S genre became some of the country’s first lesbian writing. Although she considered herself a feminist, her distrust of all government prevented her involvement in any official movements.