April 12, 1934|
|Died||December 27, 2002
|Known for||Women's rights in Asia|
Yayori was born in Kyoto, Japan in a family of Christian ministers. Unable to graduate from high school due to a severe case of tuberculosis, she was nonetheless admitted to the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Yayori was introduced to the feminist movement while on a trip to the United States and Europe during her junior year in college. In 1961, Yayori joined the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun as a reporter, covering public health and environmental issues.
Yayori was influenced by the trend of South-East Asian "sex tours" among Japanese businessmen. In 1976, she founded the organization "Asian Women in Solidarity" in opposition to sex tourism in Asia. In 1981, she was posted as a correspondent in Singapore, where she came into contact with "comfort women", women who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during the Second World War. She became the first woman to serve as the Asian General Bureau Correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun. In 1994, she resigned from the Asahi to work full-time as a social activist. Working with the Asia-Japan women's resource center, she organized a mock tribunal in 2000, on crimes against sex-slaves committed by the Japanese Imperial Army. In 2001, she visited Afghanistan to meet with Afghan feminist-activists. While there, she was struck by illness, which was later diagnosed to be liver cancer. She died in a hospital in Tokyo in December 2002.
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- Yumiko Mikanagi (2004), "In Memory of Matsui Yayori Who ‘Loved, Angered and Fought Courageously’" , International Feminist Journal of Politics, 6:1, 141-149, DOI: 10.1080/1461674032000165978.