Japanese Culture and the Philosophy of Self-Advocacy

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Tsuda, E. (2006). Japanese culture and the philosophy of self-advocacy: the importance of interdependence in community living. British Journal of Learning Disabilities,34(3), 151-156. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3156.2006.00413.x

In 2006 there had been an increasing amount of self-advocacy groups forming in Japan for people with learning disabilities. Although most had been dissolved by this time, institutionalization was still practiced and was proving to be a political issue. The Japanese were starting to learn that self-advocacy groups can help people learn to live in the community so that institutions were no longer necessary. Authors conclude that it is important to think about how self-advocacy ideas mesh with the traditional Japanese collectivistic culture.

One thing I learned about in this article is the existence of Inclusive Japan, which is a parents’ organization that was established in 1952 and was started by three mothers of children with learning disabilities. It has since gone on to become a nationwide association of parents and has contributed greatly to the advancement of the status of people with LDs in Japan. For example, Inclusion Japan contributed to the establishment of a social welfare policy for people with LDs. Inclusion Japan supports the Japanese self-advocacy movement by providing workshops, seminars, and textbooks to self-advocates. Another thing that I learned is that many advocacy groups in Japan focus on recreational programs as main activities rather than politics. Although this resource was produced in 2006, I still found it to be helpful to my research because it has provided me with a perspective on the history and societal view of self-advocacy for people with learning disabilities in an entirely different country.

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