Aya Kitō

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Aya Kitō
Aya Kitō.jpg
Aya Kitō
Native name
木藤 亜也
Born(1962-07-19)July 19, 1962
DiedMay 23, 1988(1988-05-23) (aged 25)
Cause of deathspinocerebellar ataxia

Aya Kitō (木藤 亜也, Kitō Aya, July 19, 1962 – May 23, 1988) was a Japanese diarist. She wrote about her personal experiences living with spinocerebellar ataxia which was later published in the book 1 Litre no Namida.

Early life[edit]

Aya Kitō was born to Shioka, a nurse, and her husband Mizuno, a tofu shop owner. She was the oldest of five siblings, the other four being Ako Kitō, Hiroki Kitō, Kentaro Kitō and Rika Kitō.

Diagnosis with spinocerebellar ataxia[edit]

At the age of 15, in 1977, Aya was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia. Until the age of 25, Aya's health continually worsened, and she was eventually unable to complete daily tasks (ADLs). She eventually became confined to her bed, and was unable to walk or speak.

Before being diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia, at the age of 14, Aya had started writing a diary. From the age of 15, after her diagnosis, she used it to record her experiences, including her symptoms.

Aya had the incurable disease for 10 years and experienced both emotional and physical pain, which was subsequently stressful to her family as well. Her family, however, continued to support her for the remainder of her life.


Aya Kitō died as a result of her disease on May 23, 1988, only two months before her 26th birthday.


Her diary, entitled 1 Litre no Namida (1リットルの涙, Ichi Rittoru no Namida, lit. "1 Litre of Tears"), was first published in her native Japan on February 25, 1986, more than two years before her death at the age of 25. Her mother, Shioka Kitō, convinced her to publicize her diary in order to give hope to others, since Aya had always wanted to be able to help others.

Her diary was later adapted into a 2004 film, as well as a 2005 television drama series from Fuji TV in which Erika Sawajiri portrayed Kitō.[1]


  1. ^ "1リットルの涙" (in Japanese). Fuji TV. December 20, 2005. Retrieved August 13, 2018.