Cultural Characteristics of the Japanese Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Comparison with Canadian Association
Ayako Kitahata, Faculty of Child Studies, Seitoku University
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ayako Kitahata
Faculty of Child Studies,
Seitoku University, 550 Iwase Matsudo-city, Chiba, Japan
Email: Ayako Kitahata
The objective of this paper is to determine the points that should be taken into consideration in forming an inclusive society in Japan by clarifying how Japanese culture, that is, social relations with an emotional aspect such as families, is reflected in organizations that provide support for people with intellectual disabilities. To do this, the author conducted a comparative study between the activities and operational policies of associations for people with intellectual disabilities in Japan and Canada in the 1970s. The different approaches of the Inclusion Japan and Canadian Association for the Community Living (CACL) can be summarized as an emotional approach and a theoretical approach, respectively. Inclusion Japan realized that promoting public understanding of people with intellectual disabilities with a theoretical approach would not work well, so they emphasized carefully building human relationships with local communities through long-term direct contact. But this emotional approach of Inclusion Japan could also contain a risk to produce paternalism because it situates local people in the role of parents and the intellectually disabled as children, which aims to create an emotional connection like that of a parent and child. Therefore, the Japanese government should invest in projects that take into account Japanese cultural characteristics, that is, projects that can build careful long-term relationships between local communities and people with disabilities while being careful not to obstruct the independence of people with disabilities.
Japanese culture, Inclusion Japan, Canadian Association for Community Living, intellectual disabilities, sheltered workshop
At present, globalization and nationalism contest each other. The content of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which adopted in 2006, is important, and although every country must handle their immediate local problems to build an inclusive society, ignoring their unique cultures will not resolve problems.
Japanese culture is a wide-ranging concept that includes the behavioral patterns of Japanese people, social relations, systems, organizations, and even arts and religion (Aoki, 1990). An essential issue to be explored in any study of inclusive society is how to construct positive human relationships in the community, including people with disabilities. Therefore, in this study, postwar Japanese cultural characteristics are discussed with a focus on social relationships among Japanese people. Past studies of the ever-popular Japanese culture have been conducted by Benedict (1946), Odaka (1965), Nakane (1970), and Doi (1971). Although their positions and methods vary, these researchers agree that the social relations built among Japanese people contain strong emotional ties, such as family ties, which have contributed to the development of Japanese society. Of course, there are some changes that have been observed in this culture which are a result of globalization (Funabiki, 2010). However, for example, when considering that many Japanese companies have systems for lifetime employment, treatment based on the length of service rather than on results, and a complete welfare program (Ohta, 2016), it is impossible to deny that even modern Japanese organizations emphasize emotional aspects like that of a family. What is important is that an awareness of unique Japanese culture is maintained and utilized while obstacles to inclusive society are overcome.
The objective of this paper is to determine the points that should be taken into consideration when forming an inclusive Japanese society by clarifying how Japanese culture, that is, social relations with an emotional aspect such as families, is reflected in organizations that provide support for people with intellectual disabilities. To do this, a comparative study was conducted between the activities and operational policies of associations for people with intellectual disabilities in Japan and Canada in the 1970s. As the activities of these organizations vary, this paper focuses on analyzing the sheltered workshops operated by each organization. Sheltered workshops often suffer from issues such as low pay, low ratios of transition to competitive employment, and segregation. Accordingly, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has deemed sheltered workshops to be unsuitable approaches. However, sheltered workshops were chosen as the target for analysis in this paper because during the 1970s, they became a key part of the growing framework of community services, and were an important social resource.
In the 1970s, there was a sharp increase in the activities of disability organizations. At the time, with the rise in social security spending, questions regarding a suitable framework for services related to people with disabilities were being constructed and the roles that disability organizations should play were being addressed. Since 1980, international information exchange across disability organizations has become more prominent since the opportunities were highlighted in the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981. Since then, disability organizations in many advanced countries have set the goal in common to promote human rights for people with disabilities (Neufeldt & Enns, 2003; Richler, 2003; Akatsuka, 2012). It means, the 1970s was a time before disability issues took on a global perspective, the developed activities by each country had particular distinctions. Further, at least until the 1970s, there was little information exchange between Japan and Canada on disability issues, although a few articles summarizing the related trends of the other country’s services were published occasionally and the two countries seemed to show an interest in one another (Miki, 1963; Kanno, 1973). Nonetheless, there was little exchange from the other country’s methodologies and no joint/similar programs were being implemented because of the different social conditions. Therefore, this comparison of the two organizations seeks to highlight the originality of the Japanese approaches.
The target organizations are the Inclusion Japan (formerly known as the Japanese Parents’ Association for the Mentally Retarded [JPAMR]) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (formerly known as the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded [CAMR]). Inclusion Japan and CACL were established in 1955 and 1958, respectively, mainly by parents of children with intellectual disabilities, and have since become the largest associations for people with intellectual disabilities in their respective countries. Each organization is active in diverse fields, including education, recreation, community living, and employment.
CACL is a federation of provincial associations and affiliated local associations. Similarly, Inclusion Japan is a federation of 47 prefectural associations and affiliated district associations. As of 1971, there were approximately 340 local associations in Canada and 2,000 district associations in Japan (CAMR AR, 1971; JPAMR, 1971). The number of members of CACL at the beginning of the 1970s is approximately 35,000 members while there were 500,000 members of Inclusion Japan—there is a large difference in the population size of each country (NIMR, 1974; JPAMR, 1971). As both CACL and Inclusion Japan are responsible for coordinating with local (or district) associations, it is essential to analyze the activities of local (or district) associations to ascertain the characteristics of each organization. However, it is difficult to conduct a study of all the local (or district) associations. Therefore, the analysis targets a local association which took a progressive approach; Community Living Toronto (CLT, formerly known as the Metropolitan Toronto Association for the Mentally Retarded [MTAMR]) in Ontario was selected because Toronto was the location of the CACL headquarters and there were some joint projects of CACL and CLT as described later, according to CACL periodicals. For Inclusion Japan, there seems to be no district association which took remarkable approach, so the analysis targets an association which had a detailed description of its activities in periodicals of Inclusion Japan.
Previous research on the Inclusion Japan is as follows. Shinohara (1979) identified the desires of parents in the Inclusion Japan between the 1950s and 1970s. Yanagisawa (1987) stated that, in the district association of Asahikawa, a city in the north of Japan, parents had built facilities with cooperation from local citizens. Moriguchi (2009) clarified the meaning and the limitations of parents affiliated with Inclusion Japan constructing small-scale workshops for their children. On the other hand, previous research of the CACL is as follows. Panitch (2008) focused on and clarified the leadership and struggles of activist mothers of disabled children. Neufeldt (2003) discussed the role played by CACL in the history of the Canadian disability movement. Regarding the activities of the Community Living Ontario (CLO, formerly known as the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded [OAMR]), a provincial association, Anglin & Braaten (1978) detailed important events from the 1950s through the 1970s. Also, Kitahata & Geshi (2018) conducted research that focused on CLO’s process of ensuring the education of mentally retarded children, and Simmons (1982) and Suzuki (2014) focused on deinstitutionalization. Multiple prior studies exist for both Inclusion Japan and CACL, but there have been no comparative studies or any discussions of the cultural characteristics of Inclusion Japan.
This paper mainly analyzes Inclusion Japan and CACL periodicals published in the 1970s. For Inclusion Japan, the journal Association of Parents Hand in Hand (1970-1979) was analyzed, and for CACL, the Annual Report (1970-1979) and journal, Déficience Mentale/Mental Retardation (1970-1979), was analyzed. It was not easy to conduct a direct parallel comparison of the organizations because the content of these publications differs, and there were different contextual backgrounds in each society. However, at the very least, the content of these periodicals undoubtedly shows the emphasis of each organization at the time. The periodicals are useful materials that demonstrate the activities, characteristics, and the issues emphasized by each organization. The materials were analyzed with regard to the ‘social background,’ ‘purpose,’ ‘activity,’ ‘client,’ ‘membership,’ and ‘finance’ of organizations. These aspects are based on Tsumagari (1981), who established the research methodology of the history of facility, and whose work is widely used for disability-related historical investigations in Japan.
Results and Discussions
In Japan, the global oil crisis in 1974 brought about a 30% year-on-year decrease in recruitment and a 10% increase in retirement. Even after that, the employment situation continued to worsen, leading to a decrease in employment after graduation from special schools and special classes, from 72.1% in 1971, to 67.5% in 1973, and 54–59% in 1975 (Japan League on Feeble-Minded, 1976). In light of this situation, there was an even greater need for sheltered workshops to employ people with intellectual disabilities who could not find work, as they were the main institutions that employed people with intellectual disabilities.
By 1975, there were 100 public sheltered workshops  nationwide, employing 5875 of more than 23,000 people who required such assistance (JPAMR, 1971; JPAMR, 1976a). In 1966, there were two facilities with 100 employees (JPAMR, 1971), which prompted their number to greatly increase over a ten-year period due to rapid economic growth. However, public sheltered workshop facilities required time and considerable financial resources; therefore, they could not be set up rapidly. Furthermore, areas with small populations had few people who were included in the target group of such facilities, thus making the establishment of such facilities difficult (JPAMR, 1976a). Another major problem related to the employment of those people was the lack of enough high school facilities for them.
To cope with this issue through their own efforts, district associations of Inclusion Japan initiated small-scale workshops; however, these were not publicly recognized. Although these workshops received some assistance from the municipality, they were almost entirely managed using the district association membership fees or donations (JPAMR, 1976d). These workshops were a stopgap measure until special high schools for people with intellectual disabilities and public workshops were established, and also functioned as a model to demonstrate how public workshops could be created.
In Ontario, Canada, although there were almost no sheltered workshops for people with intellectual disabilities in 1955, their number greatly increased in the 1960s, and in 1970, there were 106 sheltered workshops in the province with 2,845 clients (Williams, 1984). Among them, 70 sheltered workshops were operated by local associations in Ontario (Mooney, 1971).
The underlying cause for this was that the provincial government of Ontario acknowledged the social value of the sheltered workshops and their rehabilitative function. In 1966, the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act was enacted, and the government began initiating sheltered workshops and providing assistance to their trainees (Williams, 1984). Thus, the number of local services rapidly increased in the 1970s (Richler, 1981). Furthermore, in 1974, the Development Services Act was enacted in Ontario, and from 1973 to 1978, the provincial government provided more than six times the amount of assistance they had previously provided. In 1978, there were 150 sheltered workshops in Ontario. By referencing the treasurer’s report of the CLT, a local association, it becomes apparent that the amount of assistance provided to sheltered workshops by the provincial government increased through the 1970s. The impact of this caused the entire association to be in the black by 1975 (MTAMR AR, 1975).
That is, local associations in Ontario played an important part in developing the rehabilitation policy of the provincial government. Meanwhile, in Japan, which had a centralized government, a policy for persons with intellectual disabilities was being promoted by the government, and district associations had a supplementary role.
Activities of Inclusion Japan
Small-scale workshops have a fascinating characteristic that cannot be replicated in special high schools or public sheltered workshops: the regional community treated them as “our own project” and gave them strong support (JPAMR, 1976c). The following is one example of such an initiative (Endo, 1978).
A district association in Arao, Kumamoto Prefecture, initiated small-scale workshops in conjunction with teachers from special education research groups. These workshops functioned as a replacement for education in special high schools. With cooperation from retired teachers, music, calligraphy, sociology, dance, physical education, and craft lessons were provided in the workshops. Also, with cooperation from Arao city officials and physical education associations, flower arranging lessons, swimming lessons, cooking classes, and field trips were conducted. The work involved regional industries, such as sewing diapers for use in homes for the elderly, making picture frames, making laver, and farming. Initiatives such as the above were visible to local people, who approved of the activities. For this reason, cooperation from volunteer groups and students increased.
The activities of this district association were mainly conducted by parents of people with intellectual disabilities and also included cooperation from many teachers, civil servants, businesses, and volunteers, which enhanced the small-scale workshops. Was this activity in Arao, Kumamoto, something extraordinary? Small-scale workshops across Japan were surveyed by Inclusion Japan, which demonstrated the results (JPAMR, 1976d).
The survey states that the factors that contributed to successful workshops were the inclusion of leaders other than parents (school teachers and persons from other agencies), and regular variation in activities. Additionally, the cooperation of citizens and strengthened interaction with schools and other agencies were found to be beneficial factors. Of course, small-scale workshops had different ways of operating depending on the policy of the local government, the location of the workshop and the situation of trainees, etc., but the cooperation of the local community was the key to the success of small-scale workshops, and many district associations other than Arao were also successful in this regard.
Comparison with Canadian Associations
A local association in Ontario emphasized practice based on theory rather than cooperation with local communities. ARC Industries, a sheltered workshop operated by CLT, initially provided people with intellectual disabilities with permanent work, and about 10% of all users made the transition to competitive work (MTARC AR, 1968). The Nationwide Series of Demonstration and Research Project, led by CACL and developed in the late -1960s, created a strong awareness of the importance of training for competitive work. The objective was to scientifically develop a methodology of support for people with intellectual disabilities. In the project, research agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Retardation (NIMR) and training centers were established in various provinces (CAMR AR, 1970; 1971). One of these was the Harry E. Foster Employment Training Centre located in Toronto, which was operated by CLT.
At this Centre, persons with the potential for employment in the labor market were selected through the assessment of practice applications. They then migrated to competitive employment or ARC Industries after receiving up to two years of training (Leppan, 1974). In the practice of training, specialized personnel and tools were emphasized. A new assessment tool developed in the United States was utilized as an evaluation and training aid. Vocational counselors and work support assistants were employed to look for jobs and to effect wide ranging placements in industry (MTAMR AR, 1979/80).
In the late 1970s, CLT was confronted with the need to resolve two major issues relating to vocational services, as a growing number of adults returning to the community from government facilities for people with intellectual disabilities. First, the magnitude of its clients increased. In 1977, this rise necessitated ARC Industries to re-organize its permanent staff and to move the workshop to a larger space that provided additional working area for 100 clients (MTAMR AR, 1977). The following year, the Jessie S. Manson Employment Training Centre was opened because of the six- to nine-month waiting lists for training. This facility functioned in a manner similar to the Harry E. Foster Employment Training Centre. A further 100 adults with intellectual disabilities were served at the new centre (MTAMR AR, 1978/79). Second, services for individuals with severe/profound disabilities as well as individuals with multiple disabilities were needed. To meet these requirements, CLT began the Adult Development Program in 1976, offering skills-training approach to facilitate the personal growth of people with intellectual disabilities and their integration into the community. Employment skills were also emphasized in that program with the aim of enabling clients to move on to ARC Industries or other agencies (MTAMR AR, 1976). To expand the services of CLT for including adults with visual impairment, the staff participated in a training session held by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). The new buildings, including the Jessie S. Manson Employment Training Centre, installed barrier-free facilities to offer training to adults with physical disabilities (MTAMR AR, 1978/79).
As a part of government policy on people with intellectual disabilities, CLT provided a wider range of programs toward competitive employment with dedicated trained staff and some support from CACL. In fact, the types of work opportunities that existed in Toronto were not available across all the regions of Canada. Local initiatives and geographical settings governed the manners in which services were provided. Nevertheless, regardless of region, a range of employment options in varying degrees of independence were oriented to meet the needs of specific individuals. This was believed to be the most important aspect of successful job performance at that time (Durand & Neufeldt, 1980).
On the other hand, district associations in Japan operated small-scale workshops using membership fees and donations until the establishment of public sheltered workshops due to either the expectation that the government would provide sheltered workshops and schools or due to the lack of knowhow in regard to training for competitive employment. However, people living in the same cities cooperated in these operations.
Operational Policies of Inclusion Japan
Why did local people cooperate in the operation of small-scale workshops and have a sense of community ownership? Japanese culture can be seen reflected in the operational policy of Inclusion Japan.
From its initial formation, the Inclusion Japan was identified as “an association of parents hand in hand.” This name indicated that the parents of disabled children were at the center of the association. However, the name also included “parents” who helped with life issues (doctors), “parents” who taught the children (teachers), “parents” who took care of the children (institutional staff), workplace “parents” (occupational parents), other children’s parents, and other such people. Therefore, “parents” referred to all people who were providing some type of care for the child or individual with intellectual disabilities (JPAMR, 1976a); this thinking was the foundation of the Inclusion Japan.
The driving force for the association’s activities was enabling fellow parents to become acquainted with each other’s children and to establish good relationships. Then, by sharing their problems and gaining support and advice, they felt that they could tackle their problems. Further, the association believed that if such relationships were lost, project implementations would not be successful (JPAMR, 1977). The following description was given about the management policy of Inclusion Japan by the board of directors in 1976 (JPAMR, 1976c):
Do fellow members know each other’s children? Do they socialize with each other’s children? Everything begins from truly knowing the problem. Practice and examples enable people to understand and emotions move people. Theory has the role of subsequently organizing these things.
More than theory, district associations emphasized the emotional connection between local people and people with intellectual disabilities, reflecting that of a parent-child relationship. Due to the influence of district associations, local people who had a parent-like feeling for people with intellectual disabilities perceived the small-scale workshops as being projects in which they should participate.
What was the source of this influence? It is thought to be the direct and continuous contact between local communities and people with intellectual disabilities. Nakane (1970) pointed out that Japanese people form groups based on locations, such as “home,” “region,” and “company,” and they appeal to emotion to strengthen unity within those groups. She reasons that this approach is implemented through direct and continuous contact that breaks down the distinction between public and private. The periodical published by Inclusion Japan in 1976 contains an article that asserts the role that should be played by the Inclusion Japan. The article states that district associations should provide assistance for local agencies, such as hospitals, schools, and kindergartens, to deepen their association with persons with disabilities to respond to and understand the issues of persons with disabilities as specialists (JPAMR, 1976b). “Deepening their association” was achieved by direct and long-term participation, and Inclusion Japan may have thought that this would lead to emotional understanding of people with disabilities.
Further, Inclusion Japan referred to such specialists as citizen parents. Inclusion Japan aimed to train citizens to have feelings like that of a parent toward persons with disabilities. Although parent-child like social and emotional connection is unique to Japanese culture as stated in the Introduction and referred to in many past studies, Fukutake (1981) is explained in a more readily-understandable way as below.
In Japan, there have been traditionally strong hierarchical family relationships with the head of the household at the top and preferential treatment given to the eldest son; however, these relationships extend beyond the household. For example, in agriculture, there were hierarchical landowner-tenant relationships, in small factory businesses, there were pseudo parent-child relationships known as the master-apprentice relationship, and in urban manufacturing, mid-size factories used seniority-based workers who had been trained as disciples from childhood. However, factory workers lived in corporate housing provided by corporations and connected with the same group of peers at both their workplace and at home, heightening the sense of unity; when there was trouble, mutual help was available. Furthermore, in villages, municipal assemblies that had compulsory participation requirements were established and mutual assistance was provided in a way similar to a big family (Fukutake, 1981).
Considering this Japanese cultural basis, the operational policy of Inclusion Japan, which encouraged a parent-child like emotional connection between local people and people with intellectual disabilities, was readily accepted in Japanese society.
Comparison with Canadian Associations
While Canadian local associations provided a variety of specialized programs, the national organization highlighted some problems in service delivery: the scarcity of services; service fragmentation, duplication, and lack of coordination; and the segregation of services from the social mainstream (NIMR, 1974). Wolf Wolfensberger, a researcher who worked in the state of Nebraska in the United States, took a serious view of these problems. He accepted a request from G. Allan Roeher (1925–1983), the first director of NIMR, to handle these problems and to popularize the concept of normalization in Canada. Between 1971 and 1973, Wolfensberger worked at NIMR as a visiting scholar (Richler, 2003).
At Wolfensberger’s advice, CACL adopted “normalization” as an operational policy in the 1970s and developed a range of projects with the objective of constructing a Comprehensive Community Service System (ComServ) (CAMR AR, 1972). One of these projects aimed to spin off direct services such as the sheltered workshops operated by local associations to other responsible community agencies. Instead, the local associations were expected to assume the responsibility of coordinating human resources, material assets, and training programs in the community to solve the problems that have been stated above (NIMR, 1982).
This transition of roles was in line with the policy of Wolfensberger and his associate, Roeher. They were concerned that, as government support and intervention increased, local associations would have difficulty fairly and independently conducting operations that were beneficial to persons with intellectual disabilities. In fact, looking at CLT’s sources of income in 1979, assistance from the provincial government comprised 72% of its budget (MTAMR AR, 1979/80). For this reason, CACL adopted the policy shift regarding the role of local associations from service provision to advocacy-related activities such as monitoring publicly financed programs, encouraging self-advocacy movements, expanding citizen advocacy, etc. (Wolfensberger 1973; Roeher, 1979).
This theory was accepted by some of the provincial and local associations including regions in Alberta and Quebec which, as mentioned above, were targeted by the project. At the local level, other associations did not accept the reduction in their services and even expanded their offerings. CLT was one of the service expanded associations and it subsequently became one of the largest social service agencies in North America (Pelletier & Richler, 1982). The possible reasons for this evolution are as follows: First, as previously explained, CLT was so devoted to responding to the rapidly increasing and expanding needs of its clients that the organization could not afford to spin off their services. Second, CLT was receiving significant assistance from the government to manage sheltered workshops. If they surrendered their direct service management, the association would face financial problems. As previously iterated, the monetary assistance that could be obtained for managing sheltered workshops was extremely sizeable. Even if the associations maintained their advocacy role, they could not easily stop the provision of direct services because funding was essential to their survival. Several local associations in Ontario, therefore, preserved their management of sheltered workshops (Crawford & Gallant, 2016). Third, while this point may apply to services other than sheltered workshops, there was unwillingness of some other agencies to become involved with the significant costs inherent in the provision of direct services to people with intellectual disabilities (MTAMR AR, 1979/80).
It was noted in an international conference in the United States in 1976 that the Canadian disability movement was one of the few voluntary associations of the world to seriously plan its future role, particularly in the area of intellectual disabilities (Roeher, 1977). In reality, CACL called in specialists such as Wolfensberger, who had visionary insights, to their research institution to continue searching for roles that could be fulfilled by associations in keeping with the needs of the time. Wolfensberger introduced the new role of the association, strengthening the function of advocacy, to Canadian associations. However, this theory was not accepted across Canada. Its feasibility was determined individually at the provincial and local levels. CACL’s vision was ahead of its time, but it was difficult to apply consistently to all local associations in Canada because of the federal system and the diverse regional circumstances across its vast territory.
Meanwhile, there were no leaders in Inclusion Japan offering ground-breaking ideas like Wolfensberger, and the operational policy of Inclusion Japan and the district associations was based on grassroots efforts in which parents and communities increased their effort to support people with intellectual disabilities. In Japan, although the municipalities have their own systems and budgets in a limited sense, the policy on persons with intellectual disabilities is largely controlled by the central government. For this reason, in comparison with Canada, there were similar regional situations across Japan, and it was easier for Inclusion Japan and the district associations to share the same vision than CACL and the local associations.
The different approaches of Inclusion Japan and CACL can be summarized as an emotional approach and a theoretical approach, respectively. Inclusion Japan realized that promoting public understanding of people with intellectual disabilities with a theoretical approach would not work well, so they emphasized carefully building human relationships with local communities through long-term direct contact. On the other hand, CACL used its research institution to promote the transition to competitive employment and protection of the rights of people with intellectual disabilities based on the expertise and the latest ideas. Considering these basic differences in approach, Japan should be cautious in considering the adoption of concepts such as “normalization,” “inclusion,” or “reasonable accommodation” from Canada, the United States, and Europe. When we apply these concepts directly to Japanese society, they may not have a significant impact.
Further, in Japan, there is a need for an awareness of the potential to be insensitive in terms of independence and protection of the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. The emotional approach of Inclusion Japan situates local people in the role of parents and the intellectually disabled as children, which aims to create an emotional connection like that of a parent and child. This approach produces paternalism and carries the risk of obstructing the independence of people with intellectual disabilities by placing them in the role of “children.” The history of the search to strengthen advocacy by Canadian disability organizations will certainly contribute to avoid this risk in Japan.
Looking at social security funding sources in Japan in 2015, the financial contributions of the central government and the municipalities is at a ratio of 26:11 (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 2017). Despite the promotion of decentralization, the Japanese disability policy is still formed by the central government. Therefore, the central government should invest in projects that take into account Japanese cultural characteristics, that is, projects that can build careful long-term relationships between local communities and people with disabilities while being careful not to obstruct the independence of people with disabilities.
 This is a historical study, thus the names of the written materials, facilities, and systems
referenced are generally to those that were used at the time. However, when referring to
people with intellectual disabilities and names of organizations, this study does not refer
to them as they were at the given time, but instead as they are used presently.
 The district associations were established for each municipality (JPAMR, 1971).
 Public sheltered workshops were managed by prefectural governments, city governments or social welfare corporations which had been delegated by these governments. Social welfare corporation is a juridical person established for the purpose of running social welfare services. Its requirements for establishment are strict because it is expected to function as highly public.
 CNIB was founded in 1918, largely to meet the basic needs of blind Canadians particularly blind veterans returning from World War 1 by providing food, clothing, and residences. Since then, CNIB had continued to provide rehabilitation and other services to blind and visually impaired Canadians (Vanhala, 2011).
 The idea of an occupation parent originates from a system wherein a private entrepreneur supports a person with intellectual disabilities and works with him or her for one year. The entrepreneur gives this individual the required guidance in life and work and attempts to make the person with intellectual disabilities independent. These occupation parents received a small monthly sum from the government (Okawa, 1974).
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This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16H07157. I appreciate the invaluable feedback on this research offered by Noriko Oka at University of Tsukuba and knowledgeable members of Japan Society for Disability Studies. I owe a great debt to Cameron Crawford and Don Gallant, Canadian Association for Community Living, for useful discussions. I am grateful to Crimson Interactive Pvt. Ltd. (Ulatus) – www.ulatus.jp for their assistance in manuscript translation and editing.
International Journal of Disability, Community &
Volume 16, No. 1
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