Art Barrier Free Disability Japan

“I want to live in the community”: A play about life of severely disabled woman in Japan to be performed in Tokyo

"A drama that looks back on the lives of women with severe disabilities, who have been working to help people with disabilities to live in the community, will held at the Kunitachi Arts Center in Kunitachi City, on December 11th. The drama is about a disabled woman and the many barriers that she has overcome and the actions she has taken to the government."

Translated from The Yomiuri Shumbun

December 10th 2019

A drama that looks back on the lives of women with severe disabilities, who have been working to help people with disabilities to live in the community, will held at the Kunitachi Arts Center in Kunitachi City, on December 11th. The drama is about a disabled woman and the many barriers that she has overcome and the actions she has taken to the government.

The play will star Kinuko Mitsui (74) who lives in Kunitachi City.  Mitsui was born in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture in May 1945. 

Mitsui’s life was a series of battles seeking the right to live normally.

When she was 20, he entered a facility for people with disabilities in Machida City. Three years later, he moved to a well-equipped facility in Fuchu City, but the toilet had to go at a fixed time, and the meeting time and going out with his family were restricted.

At the Fuchu City facility, a story was raised about residents being transferred to another facility, but there was no explanation. Mitsui, who was against the relocation, held a protest in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for one year and nine months.

In 1972, he married her husband Toshiaki (71), whom she met at a place for helping people with disabilities, but his family was opposed to giving birth when she became pregnant. Still, she gave birth to her only daughter (40), who joined the Takarazuka Revue and was active on the stage.

She left the facility and started living in Kunitachi City in 1975. An organization that supports the independence of people with disabilities, the “Kunitachi Katsuri no Kai” (currently “Life Station One Step Katsuri”), has been working on the administration to improve the living environment. He was also involved in the declaration of Kunitachi City, which aims to make it easier for people with disabilities to live, and the development of ordinances.

The group has performed more than 50 performances in and around the city on the theme of independence of disabled people. This play was the premiere, and Mitsui proposed a plan to the city and realized it.

The performance time is one and a half hours, and in addition to Mitsui, the starring star, 26 members from the nursery school children in their 80s will appear.

A week before the actual performance, we practiced at the same venue. “My claim is how people with severe disabilities can live in Kunitachi. Always keep that in mind, and whatever plan you make,” he said. In one scene of the play, Mitsui’s thoughts flowed through narration.

Mitsui told the report that he wanted many people to know that they were able to live as usual in the community with the support of people.

The Performance starts at 6pm on December 11th. No application is required, and 270 people can enter on a first-come, first-served basis. free. For inquiries, please contact the Mayor’s Office for Peace, Human Rights, and Diversity Promotion (042, 576, 2111).

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