Obituary: Iwao Sumiko, 1935–2018


Iwao Sumiko, psychologist and professor emeritus at Keio University, passed away in Tokyo on January 11, 2018. She was 83.

Born in Tokyo in 1935, Iwao attended Keio University before heading to the United States, where she earned a doctorate in psychology at Yale University. She would go on to serve as a visiting professor at Harvard University and a professor at her alma mater in Tokyo, as well as at the Musashi Institute of Technology (now Tokyo City University).

From 1985 to 2007, Iwao served on the Editorial Board of Japan Echo magazine, the predecessor of She was editor in chief from 1997 to 2007. In the public sector, she served on numerous government councils, including the National Public Safety Commission, and chaired the Council on Gender Equality. Iwao wrote and coauthored numerous works on women’s issues, media affairs, and foreigners in Japan. In English, she published The Japanese Woman: Traditional Image and Changing Reality in 1992.

Following her retirement from academia in 2005, she was active in children’s education in Africa as the chair of Group Kilimanjaro, the joint operator of Sakura Girls Secondary School, a residential academic facility in Tanzania. She received the Order of the Rising Sun in 2007.

Iwao Sumiko was a skilled and insightful editor and we were honored to work with her on Japan Echo. Our thoughts are with her family.

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