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Disability Movement / Studies in Japan 5:
Disability Studies / Japan Society for Disability Studies

[Japanese]^ [Korean]

Shinya Tateiwa August 12, 2010

‚P^ ‚Q^ ‚R^ ‚S^ ‚T^ ‚U^ ‚V^ ‚W^ ‚X^

translation by Robert Chapeskie


¡ "Disability Studies"

@@As I discussed in [1] and [2], a movement which questioned the negative nature of disability and addressed disability as a social issue began in the 1970s, and many writings by researchers involved in this movement were published at that time. The term "disability studies" itself had not been completely unknown in Japanš01, but it was not until the late 1990s that a group of people emerged who drew attention to this term and began to publish books and articles in this field. What follows is based on my personal recollection, and as a result this account will of course have a certain bias and may fail to mention works whose significance in the development of this field should be noted.
@@The term "disability studies" had been used before in Japan, but it was first used as a name for the field of studies it describes today in Introduction to disability studies: Society, culture, disability (Shogaigaku@eno@Shotai: Shakai, Bunka, Disability, Ishikawa and Nagase eds., 1999). One of the editors, Jun Ishikawa ( Îìy, 1956~ mKoreann) , is a sociologist who is completely blind. He studied in the sociology department at Tokyo University, where he received a lot of attention from the mass media as the first completely blind student accept by this prestigious university, and is now a professor in the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Shizuoka. He served as the first president of the Japan Society for Disability Studies. He participated in a study examining the independent living movement that was later published in Seinogihou ("Ars Vivendi") and since 1985 has published papers/reports on this subject. (I was one of the authors of this book, and my contribution to it was inspired by what Prof. Ishikawa told me when I had a part time job reading books aloud for him).
@@ After graduating from Sophia University, the other editor mentioned above, Osamu Nagase (’·£C, 1959~), participated in an overseas development organization for young people and later worked as a secretary for a Diet member with a disability, Eita Yashiro (1937~), and as an employee of the United Nations. Between 1994 and 1995 he studied for a Master's degree in "The politics of alternative development strategies" at the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands. I had not met Nagase at that time, but I remember him asking me to send him Ars Vivendi: Sociology of Disabled People Who Leave Institutions and their Families and live on their own) (Sei no Gihou: ie to shisetsu wo dete kurasu shogaisha noshakai gaku, Asaka et al. 1995). Nagase returned to Japan after writing his master's thesis, "Difference, Equality and Disabled People: Disability Rights and Disability Culture" (1995). This thesis dealt with the accumulated works on disability published up to that time and covered the disabled movement in Japan as described in books like ours. Nagase then contacted several people working in this field and began to plan the publication of a collection of works which could be described as being in the field of "disability studies" in book form. (At that time I lived three hours away from Tokyo in Matsumoto City, and I remember Nagase coming out to see me and spending the night at my house to discuss plans for this kind of publication). It was decided that since Japan has its own history of distinctive discourse that can be considered "disability studies", we should begin with a book describing Japanese thought on disabilities up to that time. A mailing list was put together of people planning to contribute to this book. (This mailing list is still active and as of August 2010 contains over 15,000 posts).
Introduction to disability studies @@The finished book, entitled Introduction to disability studies: Society, culture, disability (Shogaigaku eno Shotai: Shakai, Bunka, Disability, was published in 1999, and "had a much larger impact than would normally be expected for this type of book" [Japanese] (Ishikawa). Here I will give only a brief outline of its contents: Chapter One "Towards disability studies" (Osamu Nagase =’·£C), Chapter Two "Disability, Technology, Identity" (Jun Ishikawa =Îìy), Chapter Three "On self determining independence: something which is very important but not more important than everything else" (Shinya Tateiwa =—§Šâ^–ç), Chapter Four ""Disability" and prenatal testing"(Mariko Tamai =‹Êˆä^—Žq), Chapter Five "The genealogy of eugenic thought" (Yasutaka Ichinokawa =Žs–ìì—eF), Chapter Six "Disability, people with disabilities, and deaf culture" (Soya Mori =X‘s–ç), Chapter Seven "The construct of "disability" in deaf education" (Takayuki Kanazawa =‹ààV‹M”V), Chapter Eight "The paradox of deformity - Aoishiba/Doglegs/Gekidanhentai "(Tomoaki Kuramoto =‘q–{’q–¾ mKoreann), Chapter Nine "History being made" (Shunchou Hanada =‰Ô“ct’›), and Chapter Ten "The sociology of mental disability - mental disability seen from the perspective of disability studies" (Tomiaki Yamada =ŽR“c•xH).
@@Another book on the same topic, Discussing disability studies (Shogaigakuwokataru) was edited by Tomoaki Kuramoto and Osamu Nagase and published in 2000. This book was not a collection of academic articles but rather a record of a lecture series entitled "Invitation to disability studies" that had been held at the University of Tokyo in 1998, the year before the publication of Introduction to Disability Studies. This book included lectures given by Adrienne Asch (former president of the [American] Society for Disability Studies), "Disability studies in America" (chapter three), and Nick Danagher (chairperson of the British Council of Organizations of Disabled People (BCODP)), "The movement of people with disabilities in Britain" (chapter five). Vic Finkelstein was invited to come to Japan but his schedule would not allow it, so instead of a lecture his essay entitled " Commonness of Disability" was translated into Japanese and included in the collection (chapter four). Other lectures/papers include chapter one, "An introduction to disability studies" (Osamu Nagase =’·£C), chapter two "Neither on the side of equality nor on the side of difference" (Jun Ichikawa =Îìy ), chapter six "Disability studies and cultural perspectives" (Tomoaki Kuramoto =‘q–{’q–¾), chapter seven "Deaf culture and deaf communities" (Harumi Kimura =–Ø‘º°”ü) and chapter eight "Receiving assistance and surving with and without deciding - a lecture given at the third general meeting of the Yamanashi Prefecture branch of the Japan ALS Association" (Shinya Tateiwa =—§Šâ^–ç). (My lecture in the lecture series at Tokyo University was entitled "Research and disability studies/the disabled movement", but since the content of this lecture overlapped with articles I had previously published it was decided that another lecture of mine should be included in this collection instead).
Assertions of Disability Studies @@In 2002 Assertions of Disability Studies (Shogaigaku no Shucho, Ishikawa and Kuramoto eds. 2002) was published as a follow up to Introduction to disability studies. Kuramoto(‘q–{’q–¾) has a visual impairment and has studied economics and social welfare studies at university/graduate school. On his own he wrote Someone Please Tell me What is Normal! (Dareka,Futsu wo Oshietekure!, Kuramoto 2006). The layout of this book is as follows: chapter one "The reduction of "disability" and the transformation towards "impairment"" (Jun Ishikawa =Îìy); chapter two " Better off without [a disability]?E‚P" (Shinya Tateiwa =—§Šâ^–ç); chapter three "Fear, dislike, and loathing of people with disabilities"(Hiroaki Yoshii =Dˆä—T–¾); chapter four "To desire and to become a "man""(Tomoaki Kuramoto =‘q–{’q–¾); chapter five "Finding their voices - the development of the movement of women with disabilities"(Noriko Seyama =£ŽR‹IŽq), "Ability and injury" (Akihisa Teramoto =Ž›–{W‹v), and "Discussions of impairment - the development of disability studies theory in Britain" (Akihiro Sugino =™–쏺”Ž).
@@Many other collections of articles have also been published, including Disability Studies of Sexuality (Sexuality no Shogaigaku, Kuramoto ed. 2005). For a work by a single author aimed at introducing/examining British and American disability studies see Ryoji Hoshika(¯‰Á—ÇŽi)'s What is Disability? : Towards a Social Theory of Disability (Shogai towa Nanika : Disability no shakairironn ni mukete, Hoshika 2007) and Akihiro Sugino(™–쏺”Ž)'s Disability Studies: Theoretical Structure and Scope (Shogaigaku : Ronrikeisei to Shatei, Sugino 2007).

¡ Japan Society for Disability Studies

@@In October of 2003 the founding meeting of the Japan Society for Disability Studies [Japanese] was held at the Komaba Campus of Tokyo University and this Society was officially established. On the establishment of this society the following announcement was made: "We formed a research group focused on disability studies when preparing 1999's Introduction to Disability Studies for publication. Last year we published Assertions of disability studies. Having published these two works we have now decided to establish the Japan Society for Disability Studies in order to promote the further development of this field".
@@Paul Preston gave a commemorative lecture at this founding meeting entitled "Parents with Disabilities and their Children without Disabilities". There were fifteen people behind the creation of the society, most of whom were employed as researchers at universities and seven of whom were disabled: Yoichiro Asahi (ˆ®—mˆê˜Y, University of Nagano, cerebral palsy), Jun Ishikawa, Tomoaki Kuramoto, Kunio Tanaka (“c’†–M•v, National Diet Library, hearing impaired), Satoshi Fukushima (•Ÿ“‡’q, Tokyo University, deafblind), Soya Mori (X‘s–ç, Institute of Developing Economies, hearing impaired), Shunji Yokosuka (‰¡{‰êrŽi, Hiroshima Prefectural Women's University). 159 individuals participated in the general meeting, 41 of whom were students.
@@General meetings of this Society have been held as follows:
@@2004 - First general meeting [Japanese] held at the University of Shizuoka. Symposia held in addition to the general reports of the Society included "Deconstructing the concept
of "disability"" and a discussion between Ishikawa and Tateiwa on "The visible and the invisible" and "Freedom and Equality".
@@2005 - Second general meeting [Japanese] held at Kansai University. Symposium: "Points of contact between the disabled movement and disability studies - legislation to support the independence of people with disabilities".
@@2006 - Third general meeting [Japanese] held at the University of Nagano. Symposia: "Disability studies and support for students with disabilities - examining the past and present of barriers to entrance, barriers to learning, and barriers to employment" and "Technology and disability".
@@2007 - Fourth general meeting [Japanese] held at Ritsumeikan University. Symposia: "Disability and distributional justice - Is Basic Income the Answer?" and "The potential for dialogue between disability studies and deaf studies".
@@2008 - Fifth general meeting [Japanese] held at Kumamoto Gakuen University. Symposia: "Stigma in disability studies - Minamata disease, Hansen's disease (leprosy) and disability studies" and "Symposium 2 "Disability studies and social work"".
@@2009 - Sixth general meeting [Japanese] held at Ritsumeikan University. Symposia: "Disability studies and distributional justice - is Basic Income the answer?" and "Disability studies and deaf studies - is dialogue possible?".
@@The seventh general meeting [Japanese] will be held in 2010 at Tokyo University (Komaba Campus). The sixth general meeting had the largest number of presentations to date with 57 (14 oral presentations and 43 poster presentations). There will be 18 oral presentations and 4 poster presentations at the seventh general meeting in 2010.
@@Most of those involved in the creation of this organization were of the generation born in the 1960s and late 1950s. These individuals did not experience the movement in the 1970s described in [1] but did carry out studies/research on later continuations of this movement, and within the conflict described in [2] tended to be closer to the side that made assertions of opposition/segregation rather than development. Their (our) attitude towards this movement as it existed in the past has in some ways differed from one of complete alignment and devotion. There are various aspects of past assertions which we have tried to reexamine.
@@While those who have become members of the Society since its founding and presented at our meetings may have knowledge of "disability studies" obtained from the Japanese books and translations noted above, there are no doubt many of them whose knowledge does not extend to other things not mentioned in this texts. [1] and [2] have therefore been written not only for people in other countries but also for people in Japan.
@@Also, while most people are presumably aiming to achieve the "liberation" of people with disabilities or are sympathetic to this effort, at present the Japan Society for Disability Studies is not pursuing political advocacy or social activism. There are arguments both for and against this position. Those who feel there is no need for the Japan Society for Disability Studies to play an active role have presumably concluded that regarding social advocacy/activism there are already other organizations (in some cases organizations to which they themselves belong) performing this task, and that there is nothing to be gained by this Society also becoming involved in these areas. There is also the idea and that if we are to encourage the participation of as many new members as possible it is better to keep the Society for Disability Studies open to people with differing viewpoints. It can also be said, however, that the attitude of these members towards contributing to public policy and "cooperation between academia and social activism, as expressed in their own research and at symposia held by the Society, is largely positive. They have also written and published many critical works concerning social systems that are detrimental to the interests of people with disabilities and how these systems might be changed.

¡ Research Associations

@@Beginning before the establishment of the Society for Disability Studies, many of the same individuals have also participated in an independent research association. Its first meeting [Japanese] was led in Tokyo in April of 1999 and included a presentation of Introduction to disability studies: Society, culture, disability (Shogaigaku@eno@Shotai: Shakai, Bunka, Disability)@which had been published in March of that year. In the same month of the same year a Kansai [a region in the western part of Japan's largest island] group also held its first meeting in Osaka which also focused on the discussion of the same text. The former group was named the Kanto Area Disability Studies Research Association and the latter the Kansai Area Disability Studies Research Association [Japanese]. These groups have met since then at irregular intervals, usually with a single individual making a presentation and the rest of the group then discussing its contents. The "Kobe University Disability Studies Salon" [Japanese] (2002~) was started after the "Kobe University Disability Studies Seminar"[Japanese] in 2002. Masutsugu Hori(–x³Žk), author of the very important work A Paradigm Shift in the Education of Children with Disabilities : Theoretical Research concerning the Move towards General Education (Shogaijikyouiku no paradaimutenkan : sougoukyouiku eno rironkenkyu, Hori 1994) and others started the "Kyushu Disability Studies Research Association" [Japanese] in 2004, and in 2007 a "Chubu Disability Studies Research Association" [Japanese] was also founded.

¡ Journal of Disability Studies

Journal of Disability Studies vol.1 @@The Society for Disability Studies has published a journal, Journal of Disability Studies, more or less annually since 2005. Volumes published to date are as follows: Vol. 1 (2005) [Japanese], Vol. 2 "Shogaigakukenkyu" (2006) [Japanese], Vol. 3 (2008) [Japanese], Vol. 4 (2008) [Japanese] and Vol. 5 (2009) [Japanese]. In addition to peer-reviewed articles the journal also publishes book reviews, essays, and records of symposia held by the Society. Digital data has been provided for use by people with visual impairments, but so far this journal has not been made available in any language other than Japanese. A Korean translation of the table of contents of each volume can be found at this website.

¡

@@At present there is no organization similar to the Leeds University Disability Studies Center in Japan. Individual researchers belonging to universities conduct research and supervise education in different places. Many universities and graduate schools have a department or course of study focussing on social welfare, but these are places set up to foster the development of people who will go on to work in jobs related to this field or to the development of people who can educate people who will go on to work in this field. When it comes to disability studies, however, it is hard to imagine this kind of direct link to employment. The nature of this field of study is such that it is not directly related to obtaining a job or professional certification. In light of this fact it is difficult to imagine it becoming possible to pursue a course of study focusing on disability studies in many universities and graduate schools, and it seems to me that in fact there is not necessarily a need to have a "base" or central location for the pursuit of research and learning in this field. There are various ways in which we can learn about each other's research and exchange ideas. The more important question is how much influence is exerted on the academic fields of social welfare, social policy, and welfare for people with disabilities, and on actual public policy and its implementation. In [6] I will introduce some of what we are doing and trying to do in the context of the circumstances outlined above.

šNotes are now available only in Japanese

¡ Bibliogaphy(Japanese)


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