SCHEDULE CHANGE: Modern Japan History Workshop on Disability in Modern Japan - Friday, October 18th

Joelle Tapas's picture
Due to inclement weather, the next meeting of the Modern Japan History Workshop has been re-scheduled for Friday, October 18th at 6:00 pm.  We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope you might be able to join us then.
Our presenter this month will be Mark Bookman (University of Pennsylvania), who will present his work on disability in modern Japan (details below).
We will meet in Room 110 in the Komaba International Building for Education and Research (KIBER, 駒場国際教育研究棟) at the University of Tokyo’s Komaba I Campus (campus map available here).

The workshop is open to all, and directions to the venue are available here.

Please direct any questions to Joelle Tapas at  We hope to see you there!

Envisioning the Future: How Blind People Created "Disability" in Modern Japan
Mark Bookman, University of Pennsylvania, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

In 1949, Japanese policymakers and SCAP officials created disability in Japan by drafting the Law for the Welfare of Physically Handicapped Persons. Disabled people themselves were excluded from the drafting process with the exception of five members of the Japan Federation for the Blind. How did leaders from Japan’s blind communities come to occupy this privileged position? And what were the consequences of their actions for individuals with different kinds of impairments? In this article, I take up these questions by tracing how blind people capitalized on historical contingencies and geopolitical circumstances to galvanize social movements between 1868 and 1949.

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