From Jiji Press
March 23rd 2020
SHIZUOKA & TOKYO – Japanese singer Mariko Miyagi, who founded Nemunoki Gakuen, a welfare facility for children with disabilities, died of malignant lymphoma at a Tokyo hospital on Saturday. She was 93.
Originally from Ota Ward in Tokyo, Miyagi sang hit songs such as “Gado-shita no Kutsumigaki” (Shoeshiner under the Girder Bridge), which was released in 1955.
Miyagi, whose real name is Mariko Honme, also performed as an actress.
Her experience of playing the role of a child with cerebral palsy on the stage led Miyagi to establish and become head of Nemunoki Gakuen for physically disabled children in the town of Hamaoka, now the city of Omaezaki, in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, in 1968.
In 1979, Miyagi founded a special-needs school called Nemunoki Yogo Gakko. She introduced a style of education that focuses heavily on the development of artistic sensitivity in painting, dancing and other fields for students in their elementary school through high school years.