Welcome back to another edition of our fabulous Fierce Female feature for the week. If you’ve done any research on the Women’s Suffragist March in NYC in 1917, then you will certainly have seen a photo of this week’s Fierce Female – Komako Kimura.
Komako was a Japanese actress, magazine editor, dancer, and managed a theatre on top of it all! She acted in many plays, and became quite famous, which enabled her to manage not one, but two different theatres in Tokyo, Japan. Komako earned her own money, and, back in the early 1900s, did well enough for herself that she was able to travel all the way from Japan to New York City in 1917 to march in the Suffragist March.
Komako identified as a feminist from an early age, and continued to stand up for her belief in the abilities of women, and for their right to vote, for the entirety of her life. Though it is believed to never have been published, she created a magazine that she intended on having published in the USA, entitled ‘The Japanese Suffragist’ which was to emulate the magazine she already edited and co-ran with two other women, Mitsuko Miyazaki and Fumiko Nishikawa, back in Japan.
Komako’s Japanese magazine, ‘Shin Shin Fujin (New Real Woman)’ was a magazine directed to women, which would discuss topics that would educate them, including some lectures, among other things. Komako truly made it her life’s purpose to empower other women, while doing what she loved – which was writing, dancing, and acting. She saw no reason why she would need to change her lifestyle to seem more masculine in order to be respected, in fact she exuded femininity, and sought to use the skills she had to give opportunities to other women.
To sum it up, Komako was once quoted saying, “We all have to have some means of a livelihood while we fight for our ideals.” and I think she was exactly on the mark.
Photo Credit: Donated by Corbis-Bettmann