A Talk with Suzanne Kamata in Kobe

Wheelchair User or Wheelchair-bound?: Writing about People with Disabilities


Date: Sunday, December 1, 2019
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Venue: 兵庫県私学会館 (Hyogoken Shigaku Kaikan) Room 205: SWET
(Just north of Motomachi Station, also walkable from Sannomiya Station)

Cost: 500 yen for SWET members; 1,000 yen for non-members
Seats are limited, so please reserve by email: SWET Kansai
About the talk:
With the approach of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, people with disabilities in Japan have been given more attention than perhaps ever before. English textbooks for Japanese children now frequently include stories about or representations of people with disabilities. Worldwide, initiatives such as #weneeddiversebooks and the call for #ownvoices have led to an increase of children’s and young adult books featuring characters with disabilities. That said, some of these representations, and the way that they are discussed remain problematic. When do stories about disability become “inspirational porn”? What kind of language should we use when discussing disability? Who has the right to tell these stories? In this session, Suzanne Kamata will address these questions, using examples from various sources including her own work.
About the speaker:
Suzanne Kamata is the author of numerous articles, stories and books featuring disability in Japan including the novel Indigo Girl (GemmaMedia, 2019), the multiple award-winning travel memoir Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2019), and A Girls’ Guide to the Islands (Gemma Open Door), a travelogue for literacy learners. She has presented at many conferences including the Pac Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity and Living on Edge: The Joys and Challenges of Being Different in Japan, a conference held recently at Kyoto Sangyo University. She is an associate professor at Naruto University of Education.