Tomi Kōra

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Tomi Kora in 1953 Tomi Koura 01.jpg
Tomi Kōra in 1953

Tomi Kōra (高良 とみKōra Tomi, July 1, 1896 – January 17, 1993) [1] was a Japanese psychologist, peace activist, and politician. She published under the name Tomiko Kōra (高良 とみKōra Tomiko).


Early life and education

Kōra was born Tomi Wada [lower-alpha 1] on July 1, 1896 in Toyama Prefecture. [2] [3] [1] She graduated from the Japan Women's University in 1917. [2] [1] While a student, she attended the funeral of Tsuriko Haraguchi, held at the university. Haraguchi was a psychologist and the first Japanese woman to obtain a PhD; Kōra was reportedly inspired by Haraguchi to continue her advanced studies in psychology. [1]

Like Haraguchi, she attended Columbia University, earning her Master's degree in 1920 and her Ph.D. in 1922. [2] At Columbia, she collaborated with Curt Richter to conduct her experiments on the effects of hunger. [3] [1] Kōra's doctoral dissertation, completed under the supervision of Edward L. Thorndike, was titled An Experimental Study of Hunger in its Relation to Activity. [3] [1] [4] She was the second Japanese woman to obtain a Ph.D. in psychology, after Haraguchi. [3]


After returning to Japan, Kōra worked as an assistant in a clinical psychiatry laboratory and taught at Kyushu Imperial University. She was promoted to associate professor, but was met with resistance because she was unmarried at the time. [1] She resigned from the institution in 1927 and took a post at Japan Women's University, where she became a professor. [1]

Kōra was a member of the Japanese Christian Women's Peace Movement, and travelled to China. There, in January 1932, she met the Chinese writers Lu Xun and Xu Guangping at a bookstore owned by the Japanese Kanzō Uchiyama; shortly after, Lu Xun wrote a poem for her. [5]

Kōra was elected as a Councillor in the 1947 Japanese House of Councillors election, as a member of the Democratic Party. She switched to the Ryokufūkai party in 1949, and served in the House of Councillors for 12 years. [4]

In April 1952, Kōra attended the International Economic Conference in Moscow. [4] [6] Per a request from the US embassy, the Japanese Foreign Ministry had refused to issue passports to those who wished to travel to the Soviet Union; Kōra got around this restriction by travelling to Moscow through Paris, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. They met with vice-minister of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade Lei Rei-min and were invited to Beijing. At the time, the Japanese government did not recognize the legitimacy of the PRC government. [7] That May, she visited Beijing as a member of the House of Councillors Special Committee for the Repatriation of Overseas Japanese. The visit was a diplomatic breakthrough, resulting in the first PRC–Japan private-sector trade agreement (signed June 1, 1952 [7] ) and the resumption of the repatriation of Japanese left in China following the end of World War II. [8] Both praise and opposition greeted the trade agreement from Japanese legislators. [9]

Kōra spent four days as a guest at the Women's International Zionist Organization in Israel in April 1960. [10]

Personal life

In 1929, Kōra married psychiatrist Takehisa Kōra. [lower-alpha 2] [1] [11] They had three daughters, including the poet Rumiko Kōra. [lower-alpha 3] [11] Kōra was a practising Quaker. [5]


  1. 和田 とみWada Tomi
  2. 高良 武久Kōra Takehisa
  3. 高良 留美子Kōra Rumiko

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