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Akemi Tanaka 1958 – 2021

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It is with great sadness that we must announce that after developing cancer, Akemi Tanaka passed away recently.

Akemi had been ill for some time, but had made the conscious decision to continue working to promote those ideals that she held close to her heart. This included the charity that she founded, Aid For Japan. Akemi’s passionate work for the orphans of the 2011 Japanese earthquake & tsunami covered ten years of fundraising, events and personal support for children whose lives were changed by the charity’s efforts.

Akemi’s passing impacts not just the charity, but also all the other lives she touched through teaching, lecturing and organising across a long career focussed on promoting Japanese culture. Equally, her support of Shiroi Ito, which meant challenging the problems of sexual violence in Japan, was also a strong cause that Akemi spent the last few years championing.

Her recent book The Power of Chōwa reached a new audience for Akemi’s wisdom, once again expanding her advocacy for Japanese culture; where she explored the Japanese concept of chōwa, which means ‘the search for balance’. The success of the book has been a testimony to Akemi’s passion and makes her absence all the more sad. However, the book also offers solace in its words. In one chapter, Akemi approaches the issues of life and death:

When we lose the people closest to us, it is perfectly natural for us to feel as if we have fallen down, and to feel like there is nothing we can do to get back up.
But chōwa reminds us that people come together in times of sadness. It teaches us that it is the people left alive that matter the most, and we must help each other back to our feet.


明美さんは健康状態が望ましくないにも関わらず、彼女が心から大切にする理想を実現するため、最期まで活動を続けられました。その活動は彼女が設立した、2011年の東日本大震災で被災した子供たちを支援する慈善団体「Aid For Japan」の10年間におよんでの募金活動や被災した子供達への個人的サポートなどです。彼女の惜しまぬ努力によって子供達の人生は大きく変わったと言えましょう。



近年の彼女の著書「The Power of Chōwa −−調和の力」では、新しい読者に明美さんの知恵を「調和」という 日本固有のコンセプト−−バランスの探求−−を用い、改めて彼女の日本文化の理解を深める活動を拡大。
この本は今も多くの人に読まれており、この成功は明美さんの情熱の証です。と同時に明美さんがもうここに いないという悲しみを私たちにより一層呼び起こすことでもあります。しかし、この本の中で明美さんは私たちに救いの言葉を残されました。明美さんはこの本の中で自身の死生観についてこう語っています。