Prejudice Towards People with Disabilities

31 Jul

I recently spoke with Yuki Arai, a writer and a researcher of disability in the arts.  We talked about two of his books: One is about the art studio in the psychiatric hospital in Tokyo, and the other about Hiroshi Yokota, a leading figure in the Japanese disability movement in the 1970’s. We talked about the role of arts in healing and prejudice towards people with disabilities in Japan.

Arai is deeply concerned about the recent trend that gives people permission to discriminate against others.  It seems that we’re seeing this trend worldwide.

Two years ago a man killed 19 people and wounded twenty-six others at a care home for people with disabilities in Kanagawa prefecture.  It shocked the nation where crime rates are so low. But what was perhaps more shocking was the reactions followed by the incident.  In social media some people voiced empathy not for the victims but for the perpetrator who claimed that those with severe disabilities had no purpose to live.

“Why aren’t we more angry about this?”  said Arai.  “Mr. Yokota would have been very angry if he was alive.”

Yokota was born with cerebral palsy with speech impairment.  He is often considered as a “radical activist,” but Arai says that Yokota’s main message was simple: People with disabilities want to live, too.

You can listen to the episode here.



4 Responses to “Prejudice Towards People with Disabilities”

  1. Tmt Aba January 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm #

    The way you described is amazing. Keep up the work and thanks for sharing such posts here.

    • Yumi January 12, 2019 at 5:38 am #

      Thank you so much for your kind words.


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