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Author, champion of refugee aid Michiko Inukai dies at 96

Michiko Inukai (Mainichi)

Critical writer Michiko Inukai, a philanthropist known for her refugee relief efforts, died on July 24. She was 96.

    Inukai was the granddaughter of former Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai, who was assassinated in the 1932 May 15 Incident in an attempted coup by members of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Inukai was born in Tokyo and was the eldest daughter of Takeru Inukai, who served as the minister of justice and was an active author in the literary "Shirakaba-ha" (the White Birch group) movement. Inukai was baptized as a Roman Catholic during World War II, and after moving to the United States in 1948, she lived in various places throughout Europe. She learned biblical studies at the Catholic University of Paris.

    Inukai made her debut in the literary world in 1958 with "Ojosan Horoki" (Diary of a wandering young lady), which chronicled her travels abroad. As she developed her views on comparative culture and lifestyle, she made her first visit to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1979. From 1980, Inukai became deeply involved in refugee crises in Cambodia, Afghanistan and around Africa, and founded the Michiko Inukai Foundation, to provide scholarships for refugees. She also was engaged in activities to protect the environment.

    She received the Mainichi Shimbun Publishing cultural award in 1989 for "Kokkyosen-jo de Kangaeru" (Thinking beyond national borders), and authored many books, including "Ningen no Daichi" (Land of people) and "Seisho o Tabisuru" (Explore the Bible).

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