Yayoi Takei
2002winners international contributions
Has long worked as a doctor providing medical aid overseas, in places such as East Timor
Yayoi Takei

Born: 1954; from: Hokkaido, Japan

Award summary

In her childhood, she read an adventure novel "Takarajima" and Schweitzer's biography; the books made her decide to dream of being a "Schweitzer" of a jungle. After graduating from a medical school, she gained experiences as an intern at Riverpool University Tropical Medical School, and worked in Ethiopia where a civil war was taking place, from 1991 for 2 years as a doctor of internal medicine. Her experience of not being able to save a life of an infant made her become an obstetrician and a gynecologist after returning to Japan. In 2000, she worked in an area without a doctor in East Timor for a month before the country declares independence. Then she applied for a position offered by East Timor provisional government, and worked as an obstetrician and a gynecologist for a year. She now returns to Japan, and is looking for the next location to move.

Reasons for this award

She never talks anything like "international contribution" but simply goes where medication is needed by herself. Whenever she feels that her ability was not enough through communication with patients, she does her best to make up the lack. To make her childhood dream come true, she became a doctor, learned English, and then researched about tropical diseases. A not-easy-to-access and the snow-covered land of Hokkaido; where she was born and raised, East Timor, and Ethiopia all give her the similar feelings, she says.

Comments from the winner

Receiving this award gave me an opportunity to think about the meaning of "best citizen". Some Japanese look at me as I travel to some 3rd world countries of faraway, but I want them to know the fact that Japanese once lived there or our energy consumption is affecting their abnormal weather.