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The disabled in Japan

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The disabled in Japan

Postby Duelley49 » Sat 08.18.2007 7:04 pm

I have Cerebral Palsy and Bipolar Disorder. I'm curious as to how I would be treated by people in Japan.
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby Hatori » Sat 08.18.2007 7:52 pm

If you are differently-abled, I think people in Japan would sort of treat you sort of like people in America. Either they'd stare at you or try to not make much contact... Sort of like when they'd see a gaijin. LOL
我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 08.18.2007 8:12 pm

Unlike the previous poster, I don't have the advantage of never having been to Japan; so I will be forced to draw on experience, lacking as I do the capacity for uninformed conjecture.

When I first came to Japan, I marveled at the lack of disabled people. Seemingly, there were none. I later learned that Japanese society and Japanese infrastructure conspired to keep them at home for the most part.

Fortunately, there has been over the last decade or so a major upheaval in which there have been renovations to many public facilities (most noticeably public transportation) to ease access, and there has been a sort of "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." attitudinal revolution among those who in the past would have resigned themselves to a life of being shut-ins.

The result is that it is no longer uncommon to see folks with disabilities/infirmities out and about.

Since waaaay back, Japan has had the textured tiles in sidewalks to help the blind safely find their way down the streets. I used to wonder, "What the hell did they do that for? You never see any blind people out walking, especially not alone." Now I quite often see blind people out walking alone.

Just so Hatori knows I was teasing her.....she's right. You'll have the standard contingent of gawkers (primarily little children) that you'd have anywhere in the world. But the ones who would try not to make much contact would likely have done that anyway due to your being a foreigner, so the CP would have little or nothing to do with it.
Last edited by Mike Cash on Sat 08.18.2007 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby coco » Sun 08.19.2007 5:22 am

Depends on your ability of Japanese Language.
If you ask something in Japanese, some people would try to help you.
But if you ask something by English or other languages, less people would help you.
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby tōkai devotee » Sun 08.19.2007 6:35 am

I was interested to read Mike Cash's comments that things have changed in the last decade. I haven't been back to Japan in the past decade, but previously lived there for a number of years. I saw no blind or disabled people, and I even wondered if they even existed, until friends of mine took me to a home for crippled children, to give a little talk about Australia and play some simple games with the kids. I was told that disabled people are an embarrassment to society so they keep them 'looked up', either in a facility or at their home. I certainly hope things have changed. I hope to return to Japan for a visit sometime in the near furture, and I will be interested to see if it has, not that I don't doubt Mike is telling the truth
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 08.19.2007 7:41 am

I didn't say the clouds had all been magically whisked away and everything is rainbows and lollipops for people with disabilities, so don't place your expectations too high on your visit.

Hell, I used to wonder where all the kids with broken arms and/or legs in casts were. Never saw them. When I injured my knee and spent five weeks in the hospital here back around 1994 or thereabouts, I discovered where a lot of the people with broken arms were.....they were hospitalized. Coming from a country with "drive-through" birthing of babies and outpatient mastectomies, the idea of someone taking up a hospital bed just because their arm was in a cast astounded me.

Anyway, its rare, but every now and then I see somebody with a cast out and about.
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby AJBryant » Sun 08.19.2007 11:52 am

Mike Cash wrote:
Since waaaay back, Japan has had the textured tiles in sidewalks to help the blind safely find their way down the streets. I used to wonder, "What the hell did they do that for? You never see any blind people out walking, especially not alone." Now I quite often see blind people out walking alone.


That always used to weird me out. The textured walking tiles, the music (or chirping) playing at the crosswalks, and the money with its tactile encoding to allow the blind to run a finger over a corner of the bill and tell if it was 1000, 5000, or 10000 --- all of those accomodations for the blind, but you NEVER EVER SAW A BLIND PERSON.

I think ONCE in the six years I was there (86-92) did I see three station attendants helping a guy in a wheelchair down the stairs at one of the stations for the subway. GOod thing they watched jidai geki, as they had the kago-bearer thing down (though they were clearly huffing and puffing by the time they reached the bottom, and the poor guy in the chair seemed petrified they'd drop him and... well, that would be that.

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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 08.19.2007 4:33 pm

I used to actually keep a running count of the number of blind people I had seen out and about alone in Japan. For the longest time, it didn't even average one per year.

From a few years ago, it became common enough that I lost count and quit bothering. Although it still isn't a daily thing to see them at all, there have been times when in widely separate locations I have seen as many as three in one day. (I don't think they saw me, though).
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby StarvingMusician » Wed 09.05.2007 9:50 pm

Wow, I never knew this. . .very informative, and sad.
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RE: The disabled in Japan

Postby Mike Cash » Thu 09.06.2007 7:03 am

Nothing sad about it when you consider the massive improvements over a single generation.

I forgot to mention earlier that it is now pretty commonplace to see disabled people out and about on their own in motorized wheelchairs. So much so that I forgot to mention it when discussing the changes earlier.
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