My research explores how activists, government officials, and various other stakeholders construct notions of disability and accessibility in Japanese and transnational settings. Combining area studies methods with insights from history, anthropology, sociology, law, policy, and media studies, it can be divided into three general areas of inquiry:
My research suggests that we cannot grasp how stakeholders have constructed notions of disability in Japanese and transnational settings without examining historical processes like industrialization, militarization, democratization, globalization, and aging, and that we cannot apprehend such processes without first considering disability.
By unpacking the relationship between disability activism and institutional reform, my research illustrates how domestic notions of disability born out of Japan’s past are exported to international audiences. It also identifies how international notions of disability are localized to reshape the domestic disability politics of Japan.
A prescriptive program with descriptive implications, my research reveals how activist and legislative interventions do not always help disabled people, and often make additional interventions necessary. It argues that we must take historical contingencies and geopolitical circumstances into account to create a truly inclusive global society.