Who we are (biographies)


Masumi Maruo Holledge was born in Tokyo and studied medicine at the Tokyo Women's Medical University, specialising in orthopaedics. Living in Scotland from 2001 to 2006, her research  into rheumatoid arthritis led to a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. She also obtained British General Medical Council registration, following clinical work in hospitals in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Since 2007 she has worked as an orthopaedic surgeon in Obihiro, Hokkaido. 

During her time in Scotland, Masumi became a keen 'hill walker', enjoying visits to some of Europe's last true wilderness areas. Together with Simon, she climbed a dozen famous Scottish mountains, as well as trekking up Mt Elgon in Uganda and through the Lore Lindu National Park in Sulawesi (Indonesia). In Hokkaido, she has been a frequent visitor to the Hidaka and Daisetsuzan ranges.

After coming to Japan's northern island, Masumi became interested in the local wild flowers and originally intended to manage her own 'native' garden, before the opportunity of looking after a much larger area of wild land presented itself.

An enthusiastic environmentalist, Masumi is a member of Friends of the Earth (Tokyo), the John Muir Trust (Scotland) and has also supported Greenpeace campaigns. She is active online, has written a number of popular blogs and contributes to Twitter.



Simon Holledge was born in London, and has lived in Scotland, England, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Hokkaido as well as spending long periods in China. He studied Chinese at Leeds and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and archaeology at University College London.

In addition to working as as a travel writer-photographer and then later as a field archaeologist, he has had a longterm involvement in publishing. A trained editor, he worked in print publishing companies in London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo (as a senior editor of the Kodansha illustrated version of the Encyclopedia of Japan). 

An internet pioneer in the early 1990s, in the past he created a series of websites, including an early political/environmental blog and a magazine devoted to opera. 

Simon's earliest memory is of walking in the woods with his Scottish grandfather, but (in ironic contrast to Masumi) the first mountains he went up were in Japan — Hayachine-san in Iwate, and then other peaks in Akita and Nagano. He is a member of the wild land conservation organization, the John Muir Trust.

On climate-change politics, Simon supports the environmental campaigns of Friends of the Earth, Scotland and Greenpeace International, in particular those against the continuing the use of coal to generate electricity in developed countries. He notes the many similarities that exist between Hokkaido and Scotland – areas of comparable size and population density – both facing the challenges of climate change and the need to improve protection of forests, wildland and biodiversity. 

8 July 2010