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A few years ago, we obtained scans of a fascinating set of photographs from the family of Abraham Stone. He was  the director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau, a vice president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and a close friend of Margaret Sanger. Among the rare images in the collection are photos taken at the Fifth International Planned Parenthood Conference, held October 24-29, 1955 in Tokyo, Japan. Unfortunately, the photos were not captioned, and while we can identify a few of the activists, we do not know who many of them are.

Margaret Sanger is featured in many of the photographs, along with Shidzue Ishimoto Kato, the best-known Japanese birth control activist who Sanger first met in 1922. Accompanying Sanger in many photographs are Dorothy Hamilton Brush and Abraham Stone. Brush was a Cleveland birth control activist and member of the board of the Brush Foundation, and served as the editor of the IPPF’s newsletter.

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Some of the prominent Japanese at the meeting were Hideki Kawasaki, the Japanese Minister of Welfare, and honorary president of the meeting; Dr. Juitsu Kitaoka, who headed the Family Planning Federation of Japan and served as the Secretary-General of the meeting. Shidzue Kato chaired the Japanese Planning Committee, which also included Dr. Yoshio Koya and Dr. Kageyas W. Amano. Dr. Fumiko Amano served as the official hostess.

The conference proceedings also mention the participation of the Family Planning Federation of Japan, who might also have appeared in the photographs. In addition to those already mentioned, others include its president, Dr. Yasumaro Shimojo, Dr. Kan Majima, executive director, Mr. Minoru Tachi, Mr. Kenzo Ikeda, Dr. Masako Fukuda, Dr. Kunizo Hukuda, Dr. Haruo Mizushima, Dr. Ayanori Okasaki, Dr. Shozo Toda, Dr. Masayoshi Yamaguchi, Dr. Takuma Terao, and Mr. Shinichi Mihara.

The Fifth International Conference on Planned Parenthood covered issues including world population problems, and in relation to food shortages, programs for promoting family planning, a symposium on current contraceptive methods, and a session on new biological methods for controlling fertility. This last session included early research by Dr. Gregory Pincus, who a few years later, released the first birth control pill. The conference was well attended and provided a publicity boost in Japan to birth control activists working there.

If you can identify any of the people in the slideshow, please do so in the comments. Thanks!

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