Angela Jeffs (1941–2022): Columnist, Writer, Teacher

Angela Jeffs, a long-time columnist for the Japan Times, passed away on November 12, 2022 in Scotland with her husband Ueda Yasuyuki by her side. They had lived in the foothills of the Scottish Highlands since 2013. 

After a two-decade publishing career in London, Jeffs arrived in Japan on April 1, 1986 and stayed until 2012. For most of that time, she wrote the weekly column “People,” interviewing and spotlighting the lives of over 1,000 individuals from all walks of life. 

I did not know Angela personally, but was impressed with the frankness and unflinching honesty of her writing style. I had the pleasure of corresponding with her several times when she kindly agreed to participate in SWET’s Newspaper Columnists of the 1980s and 1990s project in 2021. You can read the story of her life in her own words in that article here.

At the end of that article, she notes: “Writers never retire.” She certainly followed that maxim herself. A consummate writer, she chronicled and revealed her struggle with myelofibrosis, which she suspected was caused by radiation exposure, on her blog in the hope her writing might help others. Her last blog post is dated 17 October 2022.

Kathy Morikawa, January 7, 2023

SWET welcomes additions to this tribute from those who knew Angela, either in Japan or Scotland. Please send messages to us at SWET.


From Karen Hill Anton

Angela’s interview of me when I left the Japan Times (1999) has remained one of my favorites. About a year ago, she sent me an email with a photo of my memoir on the coffee table in her cozy sitting room in Scotland: "Just so you know you are being read in foreign lands ..." Shortly before she passed away, I wrote her a letter telling her how much I admired her, and I thank Kathy Morikawa for capturing Angela so well in this lovely tribute.

Received January 9, 2023


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