Iconic Faces: 5 Renowned Japanese Women You Should Know

Japan is a nation with a history that is as fascinating as it is long, and it’s in a large part thanks to the female population of the nation. From a fearless samurai to a ground-breaking artist and a surgeon turned astronaut, here are five of the most iconic female Japanese figures that have played a starring role in the country’s great history and have inspired the world at large.

1. Chiaki Mukai: The surgeon who became Japan’s first female in space

If there’s anyone to inspire you to pursue more in your life, it’ll probably be Chiaki Mukai whose CV includes being a vascular surgeon, Japan’s first female astronaut and an all-round science queen.

Born in Gunma prefecture in 1952, a promising young student, Mukai received her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1977 and Doctorate in Physiology in 1988 from Keio University, but this was only just the beginning. Before her space missions, Mukai was working as an assistant professor at the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery in Keio University, the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in the country. She then went on to work in a number of roles at different hospitals throughout the country including in Shizuoka, Kanagawa and Utsunomiya before returning to Keio University Hospital to take up the role as Chief Resident in Cardiovascular Surgery in 1983.

In 1985 she was selected to be an astronaut by Japan’s national space agency, which at the time was called NASDA (it’s now called JAXA). In 1994 she joined the Space Shuttle Columbia fleet and became the first female Japanese astronaut. If that wasn’t enough, she returned in 1998 aboard the aboard Space Shuttle Discovery making her the first Japanese citizen in history to have two spaceflights. In total, she spent 23 days in space.

2. Tomoe Gozen: Japan’s most …continue reading