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  • Writer's pictureJane


In order for there to be progress in our society, change and action is needed. It is amazing to see so many young adults and teens getting involved and taking a stance to make the world a better place. The girls at TokyoPeriod are no exception; they have been working relentlessly in fighting for change and getting the word out. In this interview, Nancy Tumbarell gives more insight into the history of the movement, why it is such a crucial and most importantly, inspires others to get involved.

Members of Tokyo Period. From Left to Right: Lisa, Beverly, Marina, Elsa & Nancy
Manari Osaki
Misato Koganei

Could you give us a bit of background information to what TokyoPeriod is?

Tokyo Period is chapter of the PERIOD movement. PERIOD was started in the U.S. in 2014 and is helmed by Nadya Okamoto and a group of dedicated activists.

The purpose of the movement is to destigmatize menstruation, provide sanitary products to those who need it free of charge, and eradicate the tampon tax. There are hundreds of chapters all around the world and Tokyo Period is proud to be one of them.

What made you want to join this movement? Why is it so important to you? 

Menstruation is a part of life for women and we often take the stigma, pain and cost of it for granted. However, the more educated I became on the subject the more I realized how bad we are at dealing with periods. At school you may learn about the stigma that women in certain underdeveloped countries face during their menstruations. And yet we don’t realize how stigmatized it is in our own societies.

'We hide our pads, are given black bags for them when at the drugstore, and PMS is often the butt of jokes.'

Most women don’t question why there’s a tax on sanitary products when periods are unavoidable. I wanted to join Tokyo Period because I believe periods are something we should be talking about. I also believe that it’s a special chapter of the PERIOD movement because it brings together a multi-cultural and multilingual group of people who can learn a lot from each other’s experiences.

What is your role within TokyoPeriod?

'Tokyo Period is a collaborative affair. The core team’s job is to spread awareness of the chapter, build a platform, and carry out projects both big and small'

We all brainstorm and implement our ideas together, so a lot of what you see is a group effort. For example, I wrote and posted our women’s day Instagram campaign while another member translated the posts to Japanese and another took the pictures.

What has been your favourite thing about being part of the TokyoPeriod movement? 

The best part about being part of something like this is when the message resonates with people. Personally, my favorite part has been the conversations I have been a part of these past months. I love that we have been able to shine a light on this issue.

How can others get involved? 

Getting involved is as easy as sending us a message on Instagram @tokyoperiod or at! We’re always happy to help others find a way to raise awareness in their own communities or take a more active role in ours.

With everything going on at the moment, how are TokyoPeriod working towards their ultimate goal? 

Right now, Tokyo Period has launched the #GiveLove campaign alongside the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) in order to raise money for period products. The current crisis is impacted everyone, and period poverty is an issue plaguing menstruators now more than ever. Period Tokyo is doing its part to provide refugees with sanitary products while also drawing awareness to this issue. Tokyo Period is also active on social media and continues to spread a message of positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TokyoPeriod is a non-profit organisation that is in constant need of new advocates and faces. If you are feeling inspired to make a change, check out the resources linked below or use the contact information within this article.

More Resources:

- Other members instagram accounts can be found on the @tokyoperiod instagram

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