Written with extracts from The Tokyo Shimbun
September 14th 2019
The documentary film ‘Yi-chan’s White Cane’ shows two decades of a blind woman and her younger brother with a severe disability.
Production on the movie began in 1916 when nineteen residents were killed at a disabled facility in Sagamihara City.
The documentary was filmed in Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. It concerns Yi, who has a younger brother named Sabuki, who has a severe disability. Yi was bullied at a school for being blind, and experienced times when she despaired about her future. She cannot eat or walk alone, and gains courage from her younger brother.
The movie was directed by Mariko Hashimoto, a director at the Shizuoka Information News Department, Hashimoto was touched by a sense of helplessness after the Sagamihara incident, saying “Nothing was communicated”.
“I want people to feel that the disabled and healthy people are the same,” says Hashimoto. The film won the Child Welfare Culture Award.
Since the movie was completed last year, independent screenings have been held throughout the country. In Okinawa Prefecture, a blind woman set up an executive committee, and more than 500 spectators visited the screening in June this year. In Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture, a screening meeting will be organized by the Executive Committee, of “Shintoko no Kotomachi”, which is comprised of welfare organizations. The Secretary of “Shintoko no Kotomachi”, Mr. Takao (68) hopes that “It will be an opportunity to understand and support people with disabilities living together in the community”.
Hashimoto says, “I think it will be a true barrier-free society if there are no walls into which Yi can collide.”