[Virtual] Tokyo 2020 Paralympics—One Day to Go! The Impact of the Tokyo Paralympics in 1964 and 2021

Date: Monday, August 23, 2021

Time: 18:30–19:30; optional networking 19:30–20:00

Speaker: Dr. Mark Bookman, historian of disability in Japanese and global contexts

Organizations: Joint Chamber Paralliance

Registration/Cancellation Deadline: Friday, August 20 (18:00)

This event will be hosted as a webinar using Webex Meetings. Instructions for joining the virtual meeting will be sent to registered attendees after the above-stated deadline.

Event Overview

The Paralympics often improve accessibility for people with an impairment in the country where the Games are hosted. In fact, the Games are an excellent way to raise awareness about such people, as well as the ways in which they can lead productive and happy lives. This was particularly true in 1964, when problems faced by people with an impairment in Japan often went unseen. Indeed, the 1964 Paralympics, supported very visibly by then-Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko, put a whole new level of capability and way of life on display—not only for the Japanese athletes and their families and friends, but for all of Japanese society.

In the 21st century, our definition of impairment has significantly broadened as Japan’s rapidly aging society has led to a demographic shift. Leaders and citizens alike have come to realize that the needs and goals of individuals with a physical impairment often align with those of the elderly. Accordingly, they have started to leverage available knowledge, tools, and resources that will enable them to lead full and enjoyable lives.

Join Dr. Mark Bookman, a historian of disability in Japanese and global contexts at the University of Tokyo. He will use the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which will take place August 24–September 5, and the 1964 Paralympics as case studies to explain how activists and legislation have both failed and succeeded to point a way forward for people with an impairment, who, according to the United Nations, make up 15 percent of the world’s population. And if you believe there is a correlation between aging and impairment, then that number is actually closer to 100 percent of those who make it into their golden years. Indeed, with old age on the horizon, the day may come when you also need improved access.

About the Speaker

Mark Bookman is a historian of disability in Japanese and global contexts based at the University of Tokyo. He holds PhD and master of arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor of arts from Villanova University. Bookman’s research has been supported by various grants and awards, including a Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship to Japan and a Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship. His scholarship on disability inclusion can be found in Japan Focus: The Asia-Pacific Journal and other peer-reviewed journals, as well as public-facing media outlets such as The Japan Times and Japan Today.

Outside of the academy, Bookman also works as an accessibility consultant. He has collaborated with government agencies and corporate entities in Japan, the United States, and Canada—as well as the International Paralympic Committee and the United Nations—on projects related to inclusive education, equitable transportation, and disaster risk management for diverse populations with impairments.

About the Paralliance

This joint alliance of 20 international chambers of commerce in Japan was created to support the success of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Paralympics are a global celebration of diversity and inclusion, sporting achievement, and personal endeavor.

Members of the Paralliance are:

American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Australia/New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Austrian Business Council

Belgian-Luxemborg Chamber of Commerce in Japan

British Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

CCI France Japon

Danish Chamber of Commerce and Industry Japan

German Chamber of Commerce and Industry Japan

Greek Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Icelandic Chamber of Commerce Japan

Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce

Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

South African Chamber of Commerce Japan

Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry Japan


NOTE 1: This event is OFF THE RECORD.
NOTE 2: Please note that, as with all guest presentations, the content and comments of the speakers reflect their own opinions and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the hosting organizations.
NOTE 3: If you have trouble joining the meeting, please click the link below for instructions. https://help.webex.com/en-us/nrbgeodb/Join-a-Webex-Meeting

As staff availability will be limited during the meeting, we recommend that you try our video conferencing system in advance of the meeting. Please test out the system at this link <https://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html>.


Event Details

  • August 23 (Mon)
    Registration Closed
  • 18:30 ~ 20:00
  • Free
Registration is Closed