Dennis J. Frost is Wen Chao Chen Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at Kalamazoo College and the author of Seeing Stars, a history of sports celebrity in Japan. He is currently writing a book on the history of the Paralympic Movement and disability sports in Japan.
The 1964 Tokyo Paralympics, the first international event for disabled athletes held in Japan played a critical role in shaping how Japanese saw disability. Focusing on the origins and impact of the Tokyo Games, I examine how the Paralympics sparked the development of more holistic approaches to rehabilitation in Japan and provided groundwork for Japan’s disability sports movement. Although the 1964 Games challenged longstanding Japanese social perceptions of disability, their repeated emphasis on the rehabilitative role of sports also reinforced notions that disability was an individual, medical issue, establishing patterns of representation still apparent in coverage of disability sports today.
Dennis Frost, Wen Chao Chen Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, Kalamazoo College