The Pink Ladies of Oshika

The Pink Ladies of Oshika project is one of the most effective ways of supporting the fishing communities in Tohoku that I have been involved with, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, this cheerful work wear gives something extremely practical to the people in the area, directly supporting their working lives. “Kappa” from other suppliers apparently rip easily, whereas the outfits that I source have a reputation on the peninsula for being very hardwearing — the first ones I got in spring 2012 are still going strong. It is impossible for people to work in the fishing industry without the overalls.

Secondly, the kappa really do make people smile, whether you are the person wearing one, or someone catching a glimpse of a Pink Lady hard at work. I have seen people quite delighted when they open up a box I deliver — they are proud to put them on, and keen to get to work. We all need a little boost at work sometimes, especially when working under challenging circumstances like people do here, and these outfits really do give people that boost!

Thirdly, it is very easy for people to sponsor these. ¥20,000 (about £146 or $190 at 14th July 2017 exchange rate) is a very affordable amount of money for a lot of people that want to support this area. Every outfit has my “キャロライン仲間達”(“Caroline’s buddies/friends/network”) Union Jack heart on it and the name of the sponsor. People sponsor them in their own names, or in the names of loved ones, or in the name of a group or school that may have been involved in raising the money.

The pink kappa were initially provided for a group of fisherwomen who got together a year after the earthquake and decided to try to encourage others to try to rebuild the fishing industry on Oshika. The outfits were a great boost to their efforts, and there are currently almost 140 Pink Ladies on Oshika (which actually includes a few men and kappa of a variety of colours). The Pink Ladies are famous on Oshika! They even got to meet Prince William!

If you drive around the peninsula you will spot the Pink Ladies working away. As the fishing industry slowly improves here, the need for these bright and strong outfits will continue. Please let me know if you’d like to sponsor an outfit.

Sponsors have donated a total of around ¥2.5 million (£15,500/$24,000) to fund 137 outfits as of 14th July 2016. Huge thanks goes to everyone:

  • Alison Jean Lester
  • Alison Pockett
  • Allan Murphy
  • Amanamana (Miyuki Kurihara)
  • Angela Jeffs
  • Angela Saeki
  • Anna Mertens
  • Annette MacAndrew
  • Association of Women in Finance
  • Aya & Mitsuki
  • Barbara Manning & Tours Japan
  • Bill Ward
  • Bonson Lam & JapanTravel.com
  • Carole Faucher
  • Carolyn Pieroway
  • Catherine O’Connell
  • Cathy & Junya
  • Chris Foskett
  • Claire Brown
  • The Cumming Family
  • Dan Raines & General Union
  • Debbie Howard
  • FEW
  • Foreign Wives of Japanese Men
  • Foreign Women Lawyers’ Association
  • Freya McLuckie
  • International Women’s Network in Tsukuba
  • Jacinta Hin
  • Japan Intercultural Consulting
  • Jay Ponazecki
  • Jean-Guy Rioux
  • Jeremy Sanderson
  • John O’Brien
  • John Whetsel
  • Julian Lusardi
  • Junichi Taguchi
  • Katt Kano
  • Kenzo Shiomi
  • Kevin Dodd
  • Kit Nagamura
  • Kit Stock
  • Live Smiley
  • Lorelle Phoenix
  • Lorna Nagamine
  • Maria Godebska, Erin Kennedy, and Sarah Rumme-Nishida
  • Marian Kinoshita
  • Married in Japan
  • Mathew & Marian Godebska
  • May Ishikawa
  • Microscooters Japan
  • Mimchars (Grace Sekimitsu)
  • Moko Igarashi
  • Nadia Sobehart
  • Nagoya Expat Help
  • Narmina Aslanova
  • Nishiumi-san
  • Nora Dessing
  • Nuala Connolly
  • Ohana International School
  • Patricia Nyiri
  • Peace by Piece
  • Planet Depos
  • Rick Weisburd
  • RIKEN BSI PDFA
  • Robin Maynard
  • Sabine Dume
  • Sarah Mulvey
  • Soness Stevens
  • Sun & Moon Yoga
  • Tara McNulty
  • Ted & Mary Yardley
  • Tokyo Mothers’ Group
  • Tracey Northcott & family
  • Tricia Perhirin
  • Veronica Lonsdale
  • Victoria Yardley
  • Waseda International School

Please email me at if you’d like to sponsor a Pink Lady!