My research explores how different people answer the question: “What is disability?” Drawing on theories and methods from gender, religion, law, and media studies, it argues that disability is a discursively constructed category that must be understood in light of specific cultural and historical contexts. Focusing on the context of Japan, my research investigates three areas of inquiry:
The theme running throughout the three aspects of my work is that disability is constructed in particular cultural and historical contexts. Disability studies remains a relatively marginal field in Japanese studies. My research, dissertation, and eventual book will expand the prominence of disability studies in Japanese studies by clarifying how disability has been historically constructed in Japan and how it has changed over time. Eventually, I hope to write a second book that explores how Japanese anxieties about disability have shaped ideas about accessibility across the planet. Using developments in education, employment, and assistive technology as a focal point, I will demonstrate that Japan cannot be considered in isolation from the rest of the world and vice versa.