3. History

Japanese

Known as the Tokyo Debating Society, our club was founded in 1908 under the direction of Dr. Marie Stopes. In those early years, the club actively promoted debates on numerous subjects ranging from those as seemingly uncontroversial as the selling of milk in glass bottles and whether tomatoes were poisonous to humans to much more volatile topics such as planned parenthood which Dr. Stopes so strongly advocated.
In 1910, just 2 year after its establishment, this Society, became The Tokyo Ladies’ Club, and in 1913, it took the name The Tokyo Women’s Club, and in 1914 gained affiliation with General Federation of Women’s.
Today, The Tokyo Women’s Club (TWC)’s function have has expanded those centered on debate. We maintain a strong commitment to organizing activities that are varied and dynamic as members themselves. This diversification of the club’s activities is by no means a recent development.
Surviving two World Wars, and interruption between 1942 and 1948, thanks to many Japanese members of those early years, our Club has settled comfortably into meeting once a month between September and June on the 1st Monday. Programs range from musical recitals, dances, lectures and demonstrations, representing not only Japan but also many places on the globe. Occasionally Embassy programs are featured which to provide wonderful opportunities for learning a great deal and promote mutual understanding among women of many countries. Ambassador’s and Chief of Mission’s spouses are honorary members from the beginning.
Commemorative anniversaries have been celebrated.
For the 50th Anniversary, a music competition was held as a commemorative event.
Since then, we have held special events every 5 years.
The 85h anniversary was celebrated with a luncheon and a ball, from which proceeds were donated to UNICEF Fund.
The 90th anniversary luncheon was honored with the presence of H.I.H. Princess Takamado, 30 VIPs and Ambassadors’ wives. Donations were made for many charities on that occasion.
The 100th anniversary was celebrated in 2008. We remember all those members who contributed and participated over the years, forming friendships, showing caring and understanding, which will continue in the 21st century. The centennial was celebrated in the Imperial Hotel with a luncheon honored by the presence of H.I.H. Princess Takamado. Donation of 1,000,000 Yen was shared among different organizations like Mary Stopes Clinic in UK, World Food Program, Red Cross China and Red Cross Myanmar
Dialogues and ties over the years with other women’s groups show the importance of expanding activities. In 1930, our Club established reciprocal relations with the International Women’s Club of Yokohama, then
In 1938, with the American Women’s Club of Shanghai,
In 1950, with several other Tokyo Women’s organizations,
In 1957, initiated close ties with the Kobe Women’s Club.
In 1969, the Club became a member of the Federation of Women’s Association and hosted their fifth convention in Odawara in June 1970.
In an effort to augment already diverse repertoire of activities and opportunities, the TWC gained affiliation with the Dutch Hague based “Open Door” Women’s Organization, established in 1980.
To renew the dialogue with these women’s groups and to extend our Club’s horizon beyond the border of its own members, The Tokyo Women’s opened its home page.
In 2013, we celebrated a double anniversary, the 105th year of foundation by Marie Carmichael Stopes in 1908, and the establishment of the actual “The Tokyo Women’s Club” in 1913.
She wrote in her diary on May 4th, 1908, ” I hope this Amusing debate will found a society which I hope will live forever”.

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