Eulogies to Kazuko Takemura(4): About Kazuko Takemura by Miho Ogino

To honor the memory of the late Kazuko Takemura, a feminist famous for her activism as well as introducing theorists such as Judith Butler to Japan, WAN is posting a series of eulogies delivered by her fellow activists and scholars both from Japan and overseas.

I got to know a name of Ms. Kazuko Takemura first time as a translator of “Gender Trouble” which was published in 1999[1].  Actually, I translated only the first chapter of “Gender Trouble” in a journal named “Shiso” (thought) in 1996 or 97.  Ms. Butler’s discussion about sex and gender was very stimulus and was an eye-opener to me.  However, it was very hard for me to go on reading such difficult writing.  When I was asked to translate the whole book, I declined politely.  Therefore, when I saw the book was translated by Ms. Takemura, I was amazed from bottom of my heart how great she was to accomplish such a work !

Soon after Ms. Takemura accepted to be one of referees of my dissertation which I submitted to Ochanomizu University.  While I was talking with Ms. Takemura, I told her that Ms. Butler’s writing was difficult to read.  Then she replied that it was easy for her to understand Ms. Butler’s writing and she felt Ms. Butler’s writing expressed what she always thought. I was amazed again when I heard what she said and realized how smart she was.    After that Ms. Takemura translated Butler’s book one after another besides her work.  She invited Ms. Butler for lecture to Ochanomizu University and went to University of California, Berkeley where Ms. Butler’s workplace for overseas research. Ms. Takemura kept having a strong tie with Ms. Butler.  I think, as a scholar and as an individual, it was happiness of Ms. Takemura’s life to meet such a great partner, Ms. Butler who understood and sympathized each other.  But if it made her even more busy and urged her “workaholic”lifestyle, and made her forget to treat her body, we feel regrettable a little.

When WAN(Women’s Action Network) was established, Ms. Takemura was at Berkeley, CA.  I asked her by e-mail, she willingly consented to become a lifetime member of WAN. After that we had contacted each other for a while.  I asked her to write an article to WAN or asked her to play around when she visited Kyoto where her aunt had lived etc…. But she became not to contact.  Shortly, I heard that she was sick. I was tried to go to a hospital but I could not… and… . The total time I spent with Ms. Takemura was not so long.  However, each scene and memory of word of Ms. Takemura is so bright to me. That will occupy an important part of my heart.

[1] J. Butler, J., 1990, Gender trouble, New York, Routledge.

Original Article by Miho Ogino (Sep 9, 2012)
Translated by M. OGAWA

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