LONDON – Two Japanese women, one behind a campaign against women being forced to wear high heels at work under corporate rules and the other a collegiate sumo wrestler, were included in British broadcaster the BBC’s 2019 list of 100 influential women from around the world released Wednesday.
Yumi Ishikawa, a model and author, who was tired of the pain she suffered wearing heels at work, started the campaign named #KuToo, which plays on the Japanese words for shoes (“kutsu“) and pain (“kutsū“), drawing inspiration from the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.
Hiyori Kon, a member of the sumo club at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, was the subject of last year’s award-winning British documentary “Little Miss Sumo,” which charted her battle against a tradition in one of the world’s oldest sports that bars women from competing professionally.
The BBC quoted Ishikawa as saying, “We’re still in the situation where lots of people don’t even realize there’s gender discrimination in Japan, and for the #KuToo campaign too, lots of people don’t regard it as an issue of discrimination.”
“I hope people notice this kind of discrimination in our daily lives, and realize men and women are equal,” she said.
Kon was quoted as saying, “I would like to give the opportunity for children all over the world to get involved with sumo, and make sumo an Olympic sport.”