Kubushiro Ochimi

   Japanese minister and women's rights leader
   Kubushiro Ochimi was born in Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan on December 16, 1882. After schooling in Japan, she attended the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, where she met and married Kubushiro Naokatsu. After stays in Seattle, Washington, and Takamatsu, Japan, they moved to Tokyo and began a joint ministry as founders of Tokyo Citizen's Church. Her husband died shortly afterward.
   Kubushiro's career as an activist began several years later when she joined the Japan Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She began to work with Hayashi Utako on the problem of licensed prostitution in Osaka. Their work had little effect, and Kubushiro concluded that the problem of prostitution in Japan was directly related to women not being able to vote. She subsequently divided her time between continued work on the prostitution problem and attempts to obtain the vote for women. Her further church activity manifested in her attendance at the World Conferences on Mission and Evangelism sponsored by the International Missionary Council at Jerusalem in 1928 and at Tambaram, near Madras, India, in 1938. Kubushiro and Kawai Michi wrote the first women's mission study book by non-Western Christians, Japanese Women Speak: A Message from the Christian Women of Japan to the Christian Women of America (1934). The booklet detailed, among other issues, the problems faced by Christian women in Japan for refusing to engage in Shinto worship (often identified with patriotism), their stance against Japanese aggression in China, and their need for solidarity with Christian women in other parts of the world.
   After the war (and an unsuccessful bid for the legislature), Kubushiro returned to the prostitution problem and finally was successful in getting a Prostitution Prohibition Law passed. She later served as president of the Japan WCTU. She was 83 when in 1966 she passed the examination for ordination in the United Church of Christ of Japan. Her autobiography appeared in Japanese posthumously.
   Further reading:
   ■ Michi Kawai and Ochimi Kubushiro, Japanese Women Speak: A Message from the Christian Women of Japan to the Christian Women of America (Boston: Central Committee on the United Study of Foreign Missions, 1934)
   ■ Kikue Takahashi, "Kubushiro Ochimi," in Scott W. Sun-quist, ed., A Dictionary of Asian Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2001).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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