Unexpected Encounter

Recently, I had a great encounter. I didn’t expect to meet this person in Mongolia, the person who I would say is well-known to the majority of Japanese: Mr. Hirotada Ototake, the author of “No one’s perfect” (in Japanese, Gotai Humanzoku which literally means without limbs). He came to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to an event for opening new bookstore branch and introduce his book translated into Mongolian.

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Furthermore, at this event, Mongolian national iconic person, Asa Shoryu (previous sumo wrestling Champion in Japan) was also present, so it was double unexpected encounter for me.

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The book “No one’s perfect” (published 17 years ago when he was a college student) became the 2nd best seller book in Japanese post-war history (around 6 million copies). Actually I knew about him since the book was published because it was pretty big deal in Japan back then, but I had never read his book until last year.

At the event to celebrate book store branch, I think audiences (mostly Mongolian) were very inspired by his life story as well as people who supported him from his birth. He had his mother who said to him “cute” when she saw a baby without legs and arms for the first time. He had a teacher who was strict to support him to become independent person. He had many friends who cared about him and played with him. Lucky, his environment was very inclusive.

In Q&A time, I had a chance to ask some questions to him after his moving story.

Me:
Thanks for telling your heartwarming life story. I have some questions regarding inclusive education (everyone stduy in a same classroom regardless of disabilities or other factors).

Before getting into the questions, let me tell you that the fact I saw you tonight may be some kind of destiny. On the other side of the planet, Chile, I was involved in Inclusive Education project. Then I moved to Japanese embassy in Chile where I found and read your book for the first time. Then I came back to the other side of planet, Mongolia, and I could see you here tonight.
Regarding my question, I think it needs more works to promote inclusive education here in Mongolia, too.

So my questions are:
1. What do you personally think about Inclusive Education?
2. How do you think Inclusive Education can be promoted in Japan or other countries ?
3. What can people without disability do for more inclusive society?

He politely and carefully answered to my questions, which are as follows:
1. What do you personally think about inclusive education?
”I totally support Inclusive Education to make more equal society, and it is my hope that everyone accept the fact that we are all different.”

2. How do you think Inclusive Education can be promoted in Japan or other countries?
”It needs time and efforts, so we have to get used to the change, since people with disabilities have been regarded as abnormal for long time in Japan. That’s why I show up in the media to contribute to that change. I will keep doing so.”

3. What can people without disability do for more inclusive society?
”Please try to put yourself in others’ shoes, especially minority people, and keep that image all the time. Because mutual understanding is the first step for inclusive society.”

The event ended with everyone’s applause, and I think he planted a seed of change in Mongolia, and his book translated into Mongolian will promote it further.

By the way, in the Q&A time, Asa Shoryu (previous sumo champion) also asked one question, which was asking him to go to hot spa together. I guess he just wanted people’s attention, though.

This time, I learned that

Mr. Ototake, born without limbs, had a luck to be born and grow up with very supportive people, which is the essential part to make more inclusive society, so people inspired by his story can become another supportive people for other minorities 


2 thoughts on “Unexpected Encounter

  1. sayuri

    私も詳しく聞きたいなー。
    今私も色々悩んでます。
    中、高校と環境が変わって、大学で専攻もあってもう一度マイノリティと言われる人たちに出会って、視野が少し広がった気がする。
    その子にとって、生きていくなかでつけて欲しい力があって、そのなで彼らが言う別れ道というものがあって、この仕組みが何とかならんのかなー。
    メディアを使いながらも、可哀想とか、偽善とか、変なイメージの植え付けじゃなくて、理解のためになったらいいのにね。

    Reply
    1. MD Post author

      「我々」と「彼ら」という概念を植え付けているのは、実はメディアや受けてきた教育だったりするから、やっぱり小さいころから、いろんな人がいて当たり前というのを、いろんな角度から実感してもらえるような社会作りが大切ですね。かなりよくはなってきてると思うけど。そのためにも、我々、今の大人がすべきことはいっぱいある気がします。

      Reply

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