©Photo by iStock: Julia_Sudnitskaya

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Tokyo 2024

10 Great Events And Activities In The City

Looking for a fun way to celebrate International Women’s Day? Tokyo has 10 inspiring events to get you involved this March!

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a holiday celebrated annually on March 8 with a focal point in the women’s rights movement. Here at Savvy Tokyo, we wanted to share with our readers some ways this day can be celebrated in and around Tokyo! First, get to know the history of IWD in Japan, from its early beginnings here in 1923. Then, read on for Tokyo’s many IWD events where you can celebrate the history and victories of women’s rights in Japan and learn what work still needs to be done to advance gender equality. While you’re at it, why not consider volunteering for a Japan-based organization focusing on women’s empowerment?

The History of International Women’s Day in Japan

© Photo by iStock: Vittorio Gravino

While the first International Women’s Day was held on March 11, 1911 in several European countries, its roots lay in the United States a few years earlier. In 1909, the Socialist Party of America organized the first National Women’s Day in New York City to protest the poor labor conditions facing female garment workers. During World War I, these marches also became key sites for anti-war protests across the globe. March 8th became the official day when Russian women protested against food shortages, the war and the czarist government. 

© Photo by Wiki Commons: Bain Collection
A women’s rights meeting in Tokyo on July 18, 1920.

In 1923, the feminist socialist group, Akarankai organized Japan’s first International Women’s Day march to call for women’s liberation. As with other marches around the world, socialism’s critiques against capitalism’s enslavement of women drove the protest’s messages. The protest was violently suppressed by the police and the next International Women’s Day wasn’t held in Japan again until 1947. Since then, annual marches have taken place to call for gender equality and world peace. In recent years, marches have focused on ending war, particularly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and closing the gender pay gap.

International Women’s Day Tokyo Events for 2024

To celebrate International Women’s Day in Tokyo this year, join like-minded people at the exciting events below. Many focus on women’s empowerment, especially in the workplace and in traditionally male-dominated fields, like STEM. Moreover, others offer a space to critique gender inequality and violence inside and outside Japan, just like the first march in the 1920s. Whatever angle of IWD interests you, you are sure to find an event of interest in Tokyo this March!

1. Women’s March Tokyo 2024 

Women’s March Tokyo 2024 © Photo by Women’s March Tokyo

As with other IWD events globally, the Women’s Day March in Tokyo will be one of this year’s main events. This event has been held since 2017 and about 380 participants attended the 2023 march last year. The one-kilometer march will begin at the square in front of the United Nations University and end at Jingu-dori Park in Shibuya Ward. Attendees who don’t want to be photographed can gather together behind a “no photos” sign during the event. Come join others to call for gender equality and an end to violence.

2. Happy Woman Festa 2024

Happy Woman Festa 2024© Photo by Happy Woman Festa

The Happy Woman Festa 2024 is a series of events organized to celebrate IWD across Japan. For Tokyo, the organizers have planned the Happy Woman Award 2024 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Happy Woman Seminar 2024. The awards recognize individuals and companies that have contributed to the empowerment of women and the promotion of the SDGs. Meanwhile, seminars will feature speakers discussing gender equality and the importance of empowering women.  All visitors to the Happy Woman Festa 2024 will also receive a nail gift courtesy of ohora, a self-gel nail brand.  

3. Inspiring Inclusivity

Inspiring Inclusivity© Photo by British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ)

The British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) and the London Stock Exchange Group Tokyo are hosting “Inspiring Inclusivity.” During the event, female presenters from a variety of corporations and organizations will discuss how industries can nurture inclusivity in their workforces. Notable presenters include Joy Ho, the General Manager of Unilever Japan, and Margaret Tongue, the Minister-Counsellor for Economic Diplomacy at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

4. Grand Hyatt Tokyo’s International Women’s Day Specials

Grand Hyatt Tokyo’s International Women’s Day Specials© Photo by Grand Hyatt Tokyo

The Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel will be offering IWD specials all month. At the Fiorentina Pastry Boutique and French Kitchen, a special menu will be available from March 1–10. Whether you’re having Spanish mackerel or roast beef with Inca potatoes, your dish will be adorned with mimosa flowers. Also, Nagomi Spa and Fitness will have special spa options throughout the month. Finish off your relaxing time by getting your nails done in a special mimosa theme to celebrate IWD!

5. Mimosa Week

Mimosa Week© Photo by Kunitachi City

For up-to-date information about the state of women in Japan alongside beautiful illuminations, head to the Former Kunitachi Station. Inside this historic building, you can learn about recent developments in women’s issues on poster boards. Discover the latest about the Women’s Support Act coming into effect in April, which aims to help vulnerable women. Also, read up on several gender-related case studies exploring the experiences of women. As a special treat, the building will be lit up in yellow, the official color of International Women’s Day.

6. International Women’s Day Breakfast and Panel Discussion Australian Embassy Tokyo

International Women’s Day Breakfast and Panel Discussion Australian Embassy Tokyo© Photo by Australian Embassy Tokyo

The Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) invites you to Pullman Tokyo Tamachi for IWD 2024. This year’s theme is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” and will feature a panel discussion featuring several senior business leaders. Over breakfast, these women will discuss the importance of empowering female entrepreneurs and leaders in the post-pandemic world. More inclusive workplaces lead to a more equitable world. Also, panelists will talk about how promoting women’s health helps to create stable economies and sustainable environments.

7. White Ribbon Run 2024

White Ribbon Run 2024© Photo by JOICFP

The “White Ribbon Run 2024” is a charity event to support women’s sexual and reproductive health around the world. This year, the run celebrates its ninth anniversary, inviting 5,500 runners of all ages and genders from Japan and abroad to participate. The total amount of donations raised by the White Ribbon Run to date has amounted to ¥40,935,933. Proceeds have gone to supporting women in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Nepal, Myanmar and Afghanistan. Online registration for virtual participation (you run by yourself wearing the run’s merchandise t-shirt and post to Instagram) is still open!

  • Date: Mar. 2–3, 2024 but online participants can run throughout the month
  • Address: Online participants can run anywhere 
  • Cost: General (25 years old and over): ¥4,800, Youth (junior high school students to 24 years old): ¥3,000, Children (elementary school students and under): ¥2,000

8. Women in Product Event Japan

Women in Product Event Japan© Photo by freee

Hosted by freee, a cloud-based accounting software company, this hybrid event will focus on gender diversity in product development. By having women’s voices present at the design stage, companies can create products geared to suit the needs of women. The highlight of the event will be a panel discussion led by members of the all-women freee team. The organizers welcome anyone interested in workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Refreshments will be served off-site while the event offers a space to network. This event will be conducted exclusively in Japanese.

9. A Conversation with Akutagawa Prize-Winning Author Sayaka Murata

A Conversation with Akutagawa Prize-Winning Author Sayaka Murata© Photo by Tokyo College, The University of Tokyo

Literature lovers shouldn’t miss this IWD event featuring Murata Sayaka, author of the award-winning novel, Convenience Store Woman. Murata earned the 2016 Akutagawa Prize, one of Japan’s top literary prizes, for this book challenging society’s gender norms. During the event, the author will discuss the experiences that have shaped her writing and how gender and sexuality expectations impact our world. A professor from Tokyo College will moderate this event on Zoom. While the conversation will be in Japanese, English interpretation will be available.

  • Date: Mar. 18, 2024
  • Time: 5–6:30 p.m.
  • Note: This event will take place online, and participants must pre-register.

10. STEM Entrepreneurship in Japan Panel Discussion

STEM Entrepreneurship in Japan Panel Discussion© Photo by Women in Science Japan

Organized by Women in Science Japan (WSJ), this year’s IWD event is scheduled for March 19. If you’re a female founder or investor, particularly in STEM, or are looking to support women in STEM, this event is for you! The main event will be a panel discussion led by three women, two CEOs and a venture capitalist. Food and drinks will be provided after during a networking session. WSJ welcomes mentors and employers looking to empower women in the field.

We hope you enjoy your International Women’s Day in Tokyo! How are you planning on celebrating?

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