#KuToo Overtakes #MeToo in Japan

The Japanese version of the #MeToo-Movement, #KuToo, garnered international attention after a press conference and performance including the inventor of the movement, Yumi Ishikawa. Google searches for the movement, which is encouraging Japanese women to protest against workplace dress codes including mandatory heeled shoes, surged in Japan. A petition recently created by Ishikawa on already has around 20,000 backers.

#KuToo is a play on the worldwide feminist movement #MeToo, which has encouraged women to speak out again workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. It also refers to the Japanese words kutsu, meaning shoe, and kutsuu, meaning pain, raising awareness for the fact that many Japanese women wear heels between five and seven centimeters high as part of their workplace uniform.

Ishikawa, who works at a funeral parlor part-time, is one of them. She tweeted her frustration about the fact in February and later created the hashtag #KuToo but the movement gained more traction recently in connection with actresses protesting a heel dress code at the Cannes film festival and the aforementioned performance of male Japanese workers strutting around in the heels their female colleagues are used to wearing.


This chart shows Google searches for #KuToo and #MeToo in Japan in May and June 2019.