A Recent History of Activism for Accessibility in Japan (1981–2006)


  • Mark R. Bookman Tokyo College, University of Tokyo, Japan




Independent Living, Accessibility, Disability Policy, International Activism, Japan


 In this article, I consider how Japanese activists for accessibility localized concepts born out of American and European advocacy, reinterpreted them in light of domestic conditions, and then used them to pass policies for some physically disabled communities between 1981 and 2006. My analysis, which examines newspapers, magazines, state records, and documents from disability organizations, highlights how Japanese activists negotiated global understandings of Independent Living and capitalized on local concerns about the nation’s aging population to convince policy makers to promote the creation of barrier-free facilities and implementation of Universal Design. I conclude that the study of disability in Japan and other parts of the world must include the study of successes and failures of activism for accessibility in differing cultural contexts, and that further research on Japan is needed to continue improving the inclusivity of our increasingly global society.




How to Cite

Bookman, M. R. (2024). A Recent History of Activism for Accessibility in Japan (1981–2006). Disability Studies Quarterly, 43(2). https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v43i2.7706