Aya Kamikawa

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Aya Kamikawa
上川 あや
KAMIKAWA Aya 2015.jpg
Kamikawa in 2015
Born (1968-01-25) January 25, 1968 (age 54)
Alma materHosei University
Political partyIndependent

Aya Kamikawa (上川 あや, Kamikawa Aya, born January 25, 1968)[1] is a Tokyo municipal official. With her election in April 2003, she became the first openly transgender person to seek or win elected office in Japan.[2]


Kamikawa in 2007

Aya Kamikawa was born on January 25, 1968, in Tokyo's Taitō Ward. She is the second child of three.[3] She attended Hosei University Second Senior High School, an all-boys school.[3]

In 1990, Kamikawa graduated from Hosei University with a degree in Business Administration.[4][5] She began to work in the field of public relations whilst presenting masculine. In 1995, she resigned from her post, citing stress associated with gender dysphoria, and began hormone replacement therapy.[4] In 1998, she was diagnosed with gender identity disorder by a psychiatrist.[4] In 1999, she started working at a private company whilst presenting feminine. She also changed her name to Aya that same year.[4]

In 2003, Kamikawa, then a 35-year-old writer, submitted her election application papers with a blank space for "sex".[6] She won a four-year term as an independent under huge media attention, placing sixth of 72 candidates running for 52 seats in the Setagaya ward assembly, the most populous district in Tokyo.[2][7] Despite the government counting her win as part of the number of men elected to public office, she stated that she would work as a woman.[2] Her platform was to improve rights for women, children, the elderly, the handicapped, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.[5]

In 2005, subsequent to the passage of Japan's GID law, Kamikawa was finally able to change the sex designator on her koseki to female.[4]

Kamikawa was the only openly transgender official in Japan until the 2017 election of Tomoya Hosoda.[8]


  • The Courage to Change (変えてゆく勇気 :「性同一性障害」の私から, Kaete yuku yūki: "sei dōitsusei shōgai" no watakushi kara), Inawami Shoten, 2007, ISBN 9784004310648

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aya Kamikawa's Profile
  2. ^ a b c "Bribery trial no impediment in man's assembly seat quest". The Japan Times. April 29, 2003. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Kamikawa, Aya, 1968-; 上川あや, 1968- (2007). Kaete yuku yūki : "sei dōitsusei shōgai" no watakushi kara. Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 978-4-00-431064-8. OCLC 176054681.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Aya Kamikawa Profile". ah-yeah.com. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  5. ^ a b 多様性を尊重することは類別することではなく一人ひとりのなかにある多様なものに気づくこと (in Japanese). Hosei University. Retrieved September 25, 2018 – via Yomiuri Shimbun.
  6. ^ "Setagaya OKs transsexual's election bid". The Japan Times. April 21, 2003. Retrieved September 25, 2018..
  7. ^ "Transsexual stands proud in a land of conformity". Sydney Morning Herald. May 3, 2003. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Farand, Chloe (March 18, 2017). "Japan becomes first country in the world to elect a transgender man to a public office". The Independent. Retrieved September 25, 2018.

External links[edit]