Distinguished Women of Past and Present


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Keiko Ochiai

From: Japan
Fields: Business and Finance, Literature and Poetry
In the tradition of pioneering women before her, Keiko Ochiai is a writer, translator, feminist and manager of Crayon House - a book store specializing in children's and women's literature.

Keiko was born in 1945 in Ibaraki Prefecture outside of Tokyo, Japan. Her mother encouraged her to express herself and it was not unusual for her to do carpentry when she was growing up. In Meiji University she joined the English Speaking Society. She spoke up, complaining that no female held any office in the club. After calling her strange, she was elected an officer.

Early in her career she began writing and was hired by Bunka Broadcasting as a DJ, known as "Lemon-chan." She resumed her writing and published her first works herself. Her essays, A Spoonful of Happiness, stories of young women living in the big city, were widely acclaimed.

Born out of wedlock, Keiko refused to allow the stigma to influence her. She started the Crayon House for and about children and women. She said the two were inseparable. She sponsors lectures by authors, poets, educators, historians, etc. It is more than a book store. It is a cultural center, as well as a center of refuge for those needing advice. An illegitimate child herself, she recognizes the heartache and problems of other such children, as well as their mothers'.

In the forefront of society, her voice is heard as a lecturer and radio personality as she hopes to effect changes in her country.

Contributed by Florence Prusmack, author of Khan: a romantic historical novel based on the early life of Ghenghis Khan, in 1998.


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