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Grant number like: FO-232442-16

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Dennis J. Frost
Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI 49006-3295)

Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$29,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2016 – 1/31/2017

The Paralympic Movement, Sports, and Disability in Postwar Japan

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the Paralympic Movement in Japan and its influence on perceptions of the disabled.

Offering the first comprehensive examination of the history of the Paralympic Movement outside a Euro-American context, this project traces the evolution of discourse and practice related to sports for the disabled in Japan, arguing that such sports have played a critical and overlooked role in shaping Japanese approaches to disability. I frame my analysis around five international sporting events held in Japan for athletes with disabilities. Beginning with Japan's initial encounters with the Paralympic Movement in the 1960s and concluding with Tokyo's current preparations to host the 2020 Paralympic Games, this study demonstrates how such events have affected disability-related policies and perceptions both on and beyond the playing field. By examining the impact of these five events in Japan, my work highlights the historically and culturally contingent nature of disability and explains why sporting events have proven a mixed blessing for individuals with disabilities.