Home Page Forums General Discussion Japanese Disability Terminology?

  • Creator
  • #11093


    Hello! I am looking for a trusted, up-to-date resource listing supportive disability terminology in Japanese (e.g., how to say “disabled person” or “intellectual disability” in Japanese). Was wondering if someone could share a link, or direct me to a book, etc.?

    Thank you!

  • Author
  • #11094



    We actually have such a resource on our site! You can find it here:


    If there is something not on the list, let us know and we can add it (if it makes sense to have it in the general list), or just post an answer here in the forums.

  • #11095


    Hi! Yes I saw that! It is very helpful! But I guess I should be more specific. I was wondering if there is a source that provides a more thorough, social justice-oriented discussion of terminology? For example, I have been able to find one forum that discussed the use of the term 障害 , specifically, how some people avoid using the second kanji because it means “harm” or “damage,” and instead prefer writing the second kanji in hiragana. Do you have any insights about this kind of resource?! Thank you for any help you can provide! And thank you for your website!

    • #11096


      Understood! We may have someone who can help.

      • #11097


        Thank you so much! And yes, when I take a more thorough look at your list, I notice that for the general term “disability” you use both kanji 障害, but when you refer to a disabled person specifically you only use the first kanji 障がい者. So that is a great example of the level of nuance I want to develop a deeper understanding of.

  • #11098


    Hello! The first English-language resource that comes to mind, albeit slightly behind the times, is Carolyn Stevens’ chapter on “Language and Meaning” in Disability in Japan (London: Routledge, 2013). There are Japanese language resources as well if you’re interested. Ultimately, it’s worth remembering that debates around identity and terminology are ongoing in Japan (and other parts of the world) and your best bet is to ask folks for their preferred pronouns and indicators.

    • #11113


      Thank you! I was able to get ahold of her book and it was helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

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