Every Child

Has Two Parents


Kayoko Miyamoto, Yoshinaga Miyamoto and Junichiro Koizumi


In case you had to ask, this was not written by Junichiro Koizumi, Kayoko Miyamoto or Yoshinaga Miyamoto.  It has been assembled based on public information from multiple places.   Think of this as an editorial biography of Koizumi's family values.

Before becoming Prime Minister, 36-year old Junichiro Koizumi (小泉純一郎) born January 8, 1942) married college coed Kayoko Miyamoto in 1978. Then Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda was the official matchmaker for this arranged marriage with the son who was following his grandfather and father into national politics. Miyamoto, a 21 year old university senior, was the granddaughter of the founder of a major pharmaceutical company from Kamakura.  Most of the Koizumi family, his mother, and the families of four sisters and a brother lived together in the nearby city of Yokuska.   A May 19, 2001 article in the Washington Post, elaborates:

"It's a very serious thing to win elections for three generations," Miyamoto said. "It was a really big family. Each member has his own position, and mine was that of the bride, which is not very big." And the person she most wanted to talk to, her husband, had very little free time.

Many Japanese say it would have been hard for any young woman to enter the Koizumi family. His mother and an elder sister have been described as experienced political operatives -- his sister works as a key aide in his office today -- and the usually difficult position of daughter-in-law would be compounded by the demands of being a political wife.

The marriage ended in divorce, four years later in 1982 and he vowed never to remarry because a divorce required ten times more energy than a marriage.  This would seem very unusual for a politician, but in Japan, this appears to add to his colorful image in a positive way.   (And people wonder why divorces in Japan are rising.)

Before divorce, the couple had two sons.  The oldest son's name is Kotaro Koizumi.  The middle son's name is Shinjiro Koizumi. As part of the divorce, Junichiro got custody of both, and his ex-wife got custody of the unborn son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto, that she carried at the time.  According to Japanese press reports, one of Koizumi's sisters has raised the boys. Word is that they haven't seen their mother since the divorce twenty years ago.  Kayoko Miyamoto reportedly lives with her mother in Kamakura.

As for contact with her two eldest sons, an LA Times article of October 2, 2001 reports,

"I've been hoping to see them for 19 years," she [Kayoko Miyamoto] says. "All I can do is wait."

The Washington Post article adds:

Miyamoto said Koizumi told her that she would be able to see them when they were in junior high school, but that promise wasn't kept. And she has no thoughts of going to court for visitation rights. "The lesson I learned through divorce is that I never want confrontation with others."

Kayoko Miyamoto has asked several times to meet with her two oldest sons, now 20 and 22, but has been turned down, she said in an interview Thursday. "Koizumi is a man who keeps his promises," she said. "But on this point he did not." The son she raised, now 18, admires his father and hopes one day to meet him.

Asked why his ex-wife couldn't visit her sons and whether he wanted to meet his youngest, the prime minister responded through his spokesman: "Because it is a matter of privacy, I would like to refrain from commenting. However, I thank the Japanese public for entrusting this important duty as prime minister to a politician like me who has been divorced. I feel some sort of change flowing in Japanese society."

And she said she couldn't stop crying when her son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto, watching Koizumi on television campaigning for the prime minister's job, shouted, "Come on, Pop, win this one!"

Koizumi has paid child support for his third son, but there has been no contact. Miyamoto said she receives a New Year's card each year from his lawyer asking if there is anything she needs. What she wants, she said, is simply a phone call from Koizumi.

In late 2001, JapanFile website reported that

One of the more dramatic consequences of Kotaro's breaking into show business is the arrival of his estranged mother Kayoko on the wide-show scene. Junichiro and Kayoko divorced in 1982 after four years of marriage and two sons. Kayoko was six months pregnant at the time of the divorce. Junichiro received custody of the two eldest boys and Kayoko has raised the third child, also a boy, since his birth in 1983. Kayoko has not seen her sons since they were one and four and the closest the third-born, Yoshinaga, has come to his father is at a political rally, although Kayoko claims that the Koizumi clan tried to take Yoshinaga from his mother soon after he was born.

The sight of a poster-size version of her son on hoardings in her hometown of Kamakura has been too much to bear for Kayoko and she has been telling her sob story to anyone with a notepad or camera. Yoshinaga has also become a feature of the morning-magazine shows with his repeated pleas for a reconciliation with his father.

In the wake of the popular vote which put him in office in 2001, Koizumi released a CD of his favorite Elvis songs.  Later, as the the ultimate symbol of being a pop idol, he had a photo book about him released. According to one site that has reviewed Koizumi's book:

..."this book was published with the blessing of the prime minister himself. He even endorsed it with the phrase, "Watashi no subete ga koko ni aru" (which roughly translates as "Everything about me is in here")." 

The review further describes the end of the book, which

"provides a brief biography of Koizumi as well as interesting facts and tidbits about him. Things like his height (169 cm) and weight (60 kg), blood type (A), person he admires the most (Winston Churchill), favorite CDs (Phantom of the Opera and two others), favorite colors (green and blue), favorite baseball teams (Yokohama Baystars and Seibu Lions), favorite actors (Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Robert DeNiro), nicknames (Jun-chan, Henjin, Don Quixote), hobbies (skiing, reading, listening to music, watching kabuki, watching movies), favorite singer (Elvis Presley), favorite foods (ramen, yakiniku grilled meat), favorite karaoke song (Forever Love by X-Japan), and peculiar habits (putting hands in pockets or making big gestures with the body or arms)."

It should come as no surprise that what's missing are pictures of his former wife and third son.

We at CRN Japan also find it hypocritical that Koizumi is so concerned about a handful of Japanese parents whose children have been kidnapped by North Korea, yet supports hundreds of  Japanese parents who have kidnapped children to Japan away from loving non-Japanese parents.  His country refuses to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and refuses to extradite Japanese parents with active arrest warrants in other countries.

The Koizumi Children

Kotaro Koizumi 小泉孝太郎 (born July 10, 1978)

The oldest son of Junichiro Koizumi and Kayoko Miyamoto, he attended Nihon University.

In September 2001, Japan Today (Kyodo News) reported that Kotaro Koizumi had signed a contract with an entertainment production company and was attempting to become an actor.

www.japan-zone.com/news/ archives/2003_03.shtml

Kotaro Moving Up in the World (March 18, 2003)

We've been seeing a lot of Koizumi Kotaro (24) in the last year and a half. The Prime Minister's son entered showbusiness in 2001 and has been busy doing TV and commercial work since. Next month he is to get his own weekly show on Fuji TV, tentatively titled "Kotaro ga Yuku" (Kotaro Goes). He will seek out and interview big players in various walks of life. The first 'target' is baseball legend and current Daiei Hawks manager Oh Sadaharu

A good focus peice on Kotaru Koizumi by JapanFile website in December 2001.

Plugging Beer on TV

But perhaps the most talked about happoshu brand has been Suntory's "diet," promoted on television commercials by Prime Minister Koizumi's son, Kotaro. In the ads, he holds a can up to the camera, enjoys a few gulps, and smiles. He explains that the drink is delicious and then continues to explain that by simply enjoying this cold brew one can become slimmer.

Newsletter of the Japan Zone website August 13th 2001 - Issue #6

The eldest and second sons of prime minister Koizumi Junichiro are set to become big stars. Kotaro (23) drew some 300 reporters, a huge number for a new actor, to the screening of his debut movie Taiga no Itteki. He managed to maintain some anonymity when he entered the Star-is-Born-type New Yujiro contest in 2000 but no such luck now that his father is perhaps the most common face on TV.

Mainichi Shimbun, Aug. 1, 2001

The 22-year-old has reportedly signed a contract with entertainment company Izawa Office in a bid to enter the industry.

Kotaro reportedly wants to become an actor, and he has the support of his father.

"If that's what he wants to do, he should carry it through," Koizumi was quoted as saying of his son's decision.

Kotaro reportedly began showing interest in show business last year, when he began attending auditions for entertainment companies. He is currently studying at Nihon University, and used to be a keen baseball player.

Shinjiro Koizumi (born XXXXX) 小泉 進次郎

middle son of Junichiro Koizumi and Kayoko Miyamoto

Newsletter of the Japan Zone website August 13th 2001 - Issue #6

The eldest and second sons of prime minister Koizumi Junichiro are set to become big stars. [....] Second son Shinjiro (20) is set to make his debut as a musician.

Yoshinaga Miyamoto (born XXXXX) 宮本 佳長

- youngest son of Junichiro Koizumi and Kayoko Miyamoto

Yoshinaga has alternately been reported to be a freshman studying Chinese at Kyoto University of Foreign Languages and a student at Keio University. An LA Times article of October 2, 2001 says that he is

"a typical Japanese teenager: He chain-smokes Lucky Strikes, wears one leg of his jeans rolled up and streaks and spikes his hair."

and that he has never met his father:

"The closest he has come [to his father] was at a rally a few months ago, when he managed to get within about a dozen yards....He's my father," the teenager said in a recent interview. "There are no words that can express my feelings. In my everyday life, he is my mental support. He fuels my desire to improve myself and to face up to myself."

The Washington Post article reports,

Her son, recently returned from spending his high school years in the United States, went against her advice and gave an interview to the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho, which appeared on newsstands Thursday, including a photograph of the youth with a hip-hop hairdo and friendly grin.

"Newspapers and television say that my dad has two sons, and in one magazine there was a family tree with the eldest son and middle son's names written properly, and I was introduced as merely a third son," he was quoted as saying. "I felt a bit miserable thinking, 'Don't I have a name?' Because I am Koizumi's son and it does not change the fact that I am his family, so introduce me properly."

He carries his mother's family name, which she took back after the divorce, because she has custody.

"Ever since I was born, for 18 years, I have never met my dad, but I have never held that against anyone. I respect my dad and my dad is cool. We live apart but you don't know how much the existence of Junichiro Koizumi that I have been watching from afar has supported me and encouraged me. I would like to meet my dad and my two brothers, and I believe someday we can."

Newsletter of the Japan Zone website November 26th 2001 - Issue #12

"I was so mad I wanted to scream but my mother was there." Quote from Miyamoto Yoshinaga, 19-year old estranged son of PM Junichiro Koizumi, after being turned away from his grandmother's funeral.

Newsletter of the Japan Zone website August 13th 2001 - Issue #6

"Youngest son Miyamoto Yoshinaga (19) was born just after the breakup of his parents. His mother Kayoko has been appearing on the daily 'wide shows' talking of her feelings on seeing her eldest son for the first time in 19 years, as yet still only on TV."

Related Articles

Many articles have been published on Koizumi in the mainstream press, or mention his model behavior to the Japanese nation.  The ones with (**) are particularly recommended.

  1. Japanese PM keeps lost son at bay; The Times; September 4, 2005.

  2. Japan's Koizumi Breaks the Mold; (cached) Washington Post; September 10, 2005; Mostly about the Fall 2005 elections, but a paragraph on the "custom" of his not allowing his two elder sons to see their mother, nor his ever agreeing to see his younger son.

  3. Divorced Japanese struggle for right to see kids; Reuters;   An interview with Japanese members of Fathers' Website.  "Rising divorce rates mean hundreds of thousands more children are being affected each year. In 2002, there were 2.3 divorces per thousand people, roughly double the rate 25 years earlier and comparable with the 2.4 per thousand level in Germany. Around 300,000 children were involved." Yet one lawyer estimates that between half and a third of divorced people in Japan are unable to contact their children.

  4. Divorced From Their Children In Japan, Foreign Fathers Have Few Custody Options; Washington Post;  July 17, 2003; Page A09.   Four fathers with stories of Japanese mothers "legally abducting" their children to or in Japan.  The Japanese government continues to be a haven for child abductors. Also, one Japanese woman whose American husband abducted their child, who went to the US and won back joint custody.  Japan of course neither returns such justice to US citizens, nor allows joint custody.  

  5. Estranged parents snatch own kids in `abduction friendly' Japan Asahi Shinbun Online; January 27, 2002 A good overview on the subject, with quotes from multiple victims of this crime as well as experts on related subjects.

  6. **Divorce, Japanese Style; The Los Angeles Times; Oct 2, 2001.   Another article on divorce in Japan using Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi as an example.  Talks more about the Japanese who are trying to change the laws also.

  7. ** Japan's Destroyer; Time Magazine online; September 10, 2001.  Summary of Koizumi's political life with many personal details about his ex-wife and children. 

  8. ** Koizumi's Ex-Wife and Third Son Appeared on TV ; The People's Daily, August 10, 2001.

  9. ** Japan PM’s divorce typical; Los Angeles Times; June 21, 2001. Summary of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's desertion of one son and preventing his ex-wife from seeing their other two sons.

  10. ** For Japanese, a Typical Tale of Divorce Washington Post; May 19, 2001.   A good discussion of how the non-custodial parent in Japan is often denied visitation with their child -- and often prefers it that way.  Quotes from Kayoko Miyamoto, who is Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ex-wife. 

The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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