Ishigaki, Ayako 1903-1996 (Haru Matsui)

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Ishigaki, Ayako 1903-1996 (Haru Matsui)


Born 1903, in Tokyo, Japan; died, 1996; immigrated to the United States, 1926; daughter of a college professor (father); married Eitaro Ishigaki (an artist), 1931 (died, 1958); married an artist, 1966 (divorced). Education: Attended Columbia University.


Writer, journalist, biographer, peace activist, broadcaster, and social advocate.


(Under pseudonym Haru Matsui) Restless Wave: An Autobiography by Haru Matsui, decorations by Eitaro Ishigaki, Modern Age Books (New York, NY), 1940, published as Restless Wave: My Life in Two Worlds (memoir), Feminist Press at the City University of New York (New York, NY), 2004.

Nijugonenme no Nihon (title means "Twenty-fifth Year of Japan"), Chikumashobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1951.

(With Pearl S. Buck) Kami no Hitobito (title means "God's People"), Mainichishinbunsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1952.

Otoko Towa Onna Towa (title means "What Is a Man? What Is a Woman?"), Shinhyoronsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1953.

Yameru Amerika (title means "Sick America"), Toyokeizaishinposha (Tokyo, Japan), 1953.

(With Abe Tomoji and Hani Setsuko) Atarashii Josei (title means "New Women"), Kawade Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1956.

Ibu no Sozo: Utsukushiki Sei no Tameni (title means "The Creation of Eve: On Behalf of the Beautiful Sex"), Shakai Shiso Kenkyukai Shuppanbu (Tokyo, Japan), 1956.

Kindai Nihon Ren'Aishi (title means "The History of Love in Modern Japan"), Kadokawa Shoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1957.

Fufu (title means "Husband and Wife"), Kobunsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1958.

Josei no Ikikata (title means "How to Live as a Woman"), Jinbun Shoin (Tokyo, Japan), 1958.

Onna no Yorokobi (title means "Women's Joys"), Sanichi Shobo (Kyoto, Japan), 1958.

Onna Wa Jiyu De Aru (title means "Women Are Free"), Bungei Shunju Shinsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1958.

Onna Wa Taiyo no Gotoku (title means "Women Are Like the Sun"), Seishunshuppansha (Tokyo, Japan), 1958.

Watakushi no Tsumeato (title means "My Scratches"), Toto Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1960.

Joron: Onna De Aru Koto no Yorokobi to Kanashimi (title means "An Introduction to the Joys and Sadnesses of Being a Woman"), Hakkuosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1962.

Soren Hokuo Onna Tabi (title means "A Woman's Travel to the Soviet Union and Northern Europe"), Hakuosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1963.

(With Pearl S. Buck) Wakaki Josei no Tame no Jinseron (title means "View of Life for Young Women"), Kadokawa Shoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1966.

(With Magoichi Kushida) Wakaki Hitobito no Tameni. Wakaki Josei no Tame no Jinseiron (title means "For Young People: View of Life for Young Women"), Kadokawashoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1968.

Oribu no Bohyo Supein Senso to Hitori no Nihonjin (title means "Gravestone among the Olive Trees: The Spanish Civil War and One Japanese Man"), Rippu Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1970.

Ai Ni Tsuite no Kokuhaku: Otoko to Shite Onna to Shite (title means "My Confession about Love: As a Man, as a Woman"), Heiwa Shobo (Osaka, Japan), 1971.

Saraba Waga Amerika: Jiyu to Yokuatsu no 25-Nen (title means "Farewell, My America: Twenty-five Years of Freedom and Oppression"), Sanseido (Tokyo, Japan), 1972.

Inochi Wa Moeru: Jiyu to Kanosei o Motomete (title means "Life Is Burning: Quest for Freedom and Potential"), Kaiseisha (Tokyo, Japan), 1973.

Supein Ni Shisu (title means "Died in Spain"), Rippu Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1976.

Utsukushiku Kasaneru Nenrin: hinayaka Ni Ikiru Onna no Shohosen (title means "Getting Old Beautifully: A Prescription to Live Lithely"), Mikasa Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1980.

Ai to Jiyu Eno Hisho: Jidenteki Jinseiron no Kokoromi (title means "The Flight toward Love and Freedom: An Experiment of Autobiographical Argument of Life"), Ikkosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1980.

Jidai O Kangaeru, Dojidaisha (Tokyo, Japan), 1981.

Ishigaki Ayako-shi Ni Kiku, Tokyo Daigaku Kyoyo Gakubu Amerika Kenkyu Shiryo Senta (Tokyo, Japan), 1981.

Jidai o Kangaeru (title means "Thinking about the Era"), Dojidaisha (Tokyo, Japan), 1981.

Waga Ai: Nagare to Sokuseki (title means "My Love: Flow and Footmarks"), Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1982.

Ikutsu Ni Natte Mo Jinsei Wa Tanoshii (title means "However Old You Get, Life Is Enjoyable"), Kairyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1982.

Utsukushiki Deai: Kaiso no 18-Nin (title means "Beautiful Encounters: Memoirs of Eighteen People"), Domesu Shuppan (Tokyo, Japan), 1983.

Hako no Naka no Ningyotachi Yo: "Shufu Dai-Ni Shokugyoron" Sonogo (title means "For Dolls inside the Box: ‘Argument of the Housewife's Second Occupation’"), Rodo Kyoiku Senta, 1984.

Watashi no Kairogaku (title means "My-ology"), Kairyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1984.

Amerika no Manabu Koto: Paru Bakku no Jinseiron (title means "The Things America Learns: Pearl Buck's View of Life"), Iwanami Shoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1985.

Waga Ai No Ki Ni Hana Miteri (title means "Full Bloom on My Tree of Love"), Fujin Gahosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1987.

Kaiso no Sumedore (title means "Memoirs of Smedley"), Shakai Shisosha (Tokyo, Japan), 1987.

Umi O Watatta Ai no Gaka: Ishigaki Eitaro no Shogai (title means "The Painter of Love Who Crossed the Ocean: A Life of Eitaro Ishigaki"), Ochanomizu Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1988.

Jinsei no Hiketsu: Tanoshiku Ikiru Oi no Shohosen (title means "The Secret of Healthy Life: Prescription for Old People for Living Happily"), Kairyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1988.

Supein De Tatakatta Nihonjin (title means "Japanese People Who Fought in Spain"), Asahi Shinbunsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1989.

Ikiru Koto Wa Chosensuru Koto De Aru (title means "To Live Is to Challenge"), Kairyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1990.

Waga Ai Waga Amerika (title means "My Love, My America"), Chikuma Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1991.

Jinsei Ni Yosei Wa Nai (title means "There Is No Such Thing as Yosei in Life"), Kairyusha (Tokyo, Japan), 1992.

Ishigaki Ayako Nikki (title means "Ayako Ishigaki's Diary"), Iwanami Shoten (Tokyo, Japan), 1996.

Watakushi no Tsume Ato (title means "My Nail Mark"), Nihon Tosho Senta (Tokyo, Japan), 1998.


Ayako Ishigaki was a Japanese-American author, activist, and crusader for social justice. Born in 1903, she came to the United States in 1926. Ishigaki "spent her entire life between two worlds," commented Kim Schmidt in ForeWord Magazine. "She was at different times Japanese and American, a member of the elite upper class and a struggling laborer, a political activist and an employee of the War Department." A worker for peace, she was also an early feminist and advocate for social justice.

Restless Wave: My Life in Two Worlds, first published in 1940 under Ishigaki's pseudonym, Haru Matsui, is a partly autobiographical work with a novelistic construction. Ishigaki describes her early life and experiences with the rigid customs of Japanese society. She was born into a relatively privileged life as the daughter of a professor, and was taught the traditional ways of Japan, including ideas of women's submissive role to men. In opposition to this training, she understood early the value of independence and found more connection to the poor and the working classes than to other wealthy individuals. She relates how she became an adolescent and young adult who questioned authority, rebelled against the strictures of her father's rules and patriarchal society, and struggled to find a place for herself in a world with which she did not agree. Finally, Ishigaki relates how she found her place as a creative, passionate, independent woman intent on changing the world for the better.

Ishigaki's experiences throughout her life were vivid and transformative, from her early conflict with her father's stern rules, to her imprisonment for political reasons, to her survival of a violent earthquake that killed many of her Japanese neighbors, and finally to her resistance of traditional Japanese marriage and her determination to create a life and family for herself in the United States. Once outside her father's influence, she forges her own life. When she marries her lover against her father's wishes, her decision means that he will be forever lost from her life. She decides to proceed with her life under her own terms, despite the consequences. "Although it is heartbreaking for her to give up her father, she finds that she can no longer be a part of his world," noted reviewers Karen Boone, Stacie Diedrichsen, and BreAnn Fosse on the Voices from the Gap Web site.

Boone, Diedrichsen, and Fosse further remarked that Restless Wave "speaks loudly to women—in a very real way—about forging one's own path in life and resisting conformity. They concluded: "This memoir perfectly complements Ishigaki's career as a feminist and political activist, because it delivers a powerful message of the will to survive long enough to see change."



Ishigaki, Ayako, Restless Wave: My Life in Two Worlds, Feminist Press at the City University of New York (New York, NY), 2004.


Feminist Press Web site, (June 14, 2007), biography of Ayako Ishigaki.

ForeWord Magazine, (June 14, 2007), Kim Schmidt, review of Restless Wave.

Voices from the Gap, (June 14, 2007), Karen Boone, Stacie Diedrichsen, and BreAnn Fosse, biography and bibliography of Ayako Ishigaki, and review of Restless Wave.