Home » Ginko Ogino – a woman in a man’s world

Ginko Ogino – a woman in a man’s world

Ginko Ogino (荻野吟子) was a medical pioneer.  Born on March 3, 1851, in Saitama prefecture next to Tokyo, she married at sixteen.  Contracting gonorrhea from her husband, she divorced him soon after.  It was very shameful to contract such a disease at that time.  And to compound that problem, it probably wasn’t pleasant to be treated by male doctors.  As a result, she decided to become a doctor herself.

Ginko Ogino grave at Zoshigaya Cemetery

When she graduated from Tokyo Women’s Normal School, she took the medical practitioner’s examination.  She passed and became Japan’s first female registered doctor in 1885.  She specialized in obstetrics and gynecology and opened a hospital in Yushima.  This was at a time when men completely dominated medicine.  She was a true trailblazer for future generations of women.

Ginko Ogino statue holding hat

In 1890 she remarried.  This time it was to a protestant clergyman and went with him to Hokkaido in 1894, where she ran another practice.  Upon her husband’s death, she returned to Tokyo in 1908 and resumed running her hospital.  She died in 1913 and now lies in Zoshigaya Cemetery.


Her grave is nice.  There is a statue of her in one corner.  It portrays her in the clothes typical of the time.  In the middle is her grave, and around that are some more memorials.  It is lovely and is always in good condition.  If you visit it, there is a good chance fresh flowers will be there.

Ginko Ogino statue

Zoshigaya is an excellent place for her to be buried.  It’s not far from the concrete jungle of Ikebukuro.  The cemetery is very “green” and peaceful.  Many famous people are there with her.  It is a fantastic place to visit and a great place to learn Japanese/Tokyo history.  You can learn more about the cemetery in this article. It is one of my favorite places in the city. 

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If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. And for those who have visited this cemetery, please tell us your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Ginko Ogino – a woman in a man’s world”

  1. Pingback: The best photography guide to Zoshigaya Cemetery - Tokyo in Pics

  2. Pingback: The grave of Hideki Tojo at Zoshigaya Cemetery - Tokyo in Pics

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