UK-Japan News November 2019

The Japanese founder of #kutoo, a hashtag movement supporting women forced to wear heels at work, is among the BBC’s list of the 100 most influential women of 2019. Yumi Ishikawa started the movement after complaining about her firm’s dress code on Twitter. Her story resonated with women throughout Japan and was shared more than 30,000 times.

The name is a reference to the #metoo movement and is a play on the Japanese words kutsu (shoes) and kutsuu (pain). In June, she submitted a petition with more than 20,000 signatures to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Also on the list is Hiyori Kon, a 21-year-old sumo wrestler who was the subject of the 2018 award-winning documentary Little Miss Sumo. Japan still bars women from competing professionally in this national sport, and the BBC is honouring Kon for her efforts to change the rules and give women a voice in sumo.