Stories of Hope-Hiroshima Maidens

Maidens L - M

Toyoko Morita dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono.

Toyoko Morita (Minowa)

While staying in America, Toyoko Morita began studying at the Parsons School of Design. Although she was only accepted due to her association with Norman Cousins, she did very well in her studies. She received more surgeries during her holiday breaks, at which time she stayed with Ida Day. Toyoko also found employment with Bergdorf Goodman, a design shop. During her summer breaks, Toyoko worked two days a week. This experience helped her learn a lot about western-style clothing, which would be beneficial in her future business adventures. She received her degree from Parsons School of Design and returned to Japan. Toyoko started the business Toyo Houte Couture.

Toyoko was able, with the help of Ida Day, to provide some of the Maidens and others with deformities employment. Toyo Houte was a success. It served many clients in America and held fashion shows. All her life Toyoko was career-focused, which explains why she never agreed to marry the men that proposed to her.

Hiroshima Maiden Toyoko Morita opened a successful  design business and employed other women who had disabilites. 

Unfortunately, in 1968 Toyoko was diagnosed with rectal cancer. She underwent several operations and received radiation, which seemed to have cured her. But in 1974, the cancer returned. Her ill health caused her to close her shop; she began teaching instead. She had a colostomy and moved closer to her family. 

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