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Industrial disability in the Japanese railways business: the activity of Testudō Kōsaikai, 1931–1955

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2021

Toshitaka Nagahiro*
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, Wakayama University, Wakayama, Japan
*
*Corresponding author. Email: nagahiro@wakayama-u.ac.jp

Abstract

The industrialization process generated many disabilities. However, the historical study of industrial disability has not progressed. This study examines disability welfare in the Japanese railroad industry. In particular, Testudō Kōsaikai, an organization of the Japanese National Railways (JNR) established in 1931, was uniquely devoted to welfare activities by linking a profit-making business and the provision of welfare. To cover welfare costs, such as providing workshops for disabled people, Kōsaikai conducted profit-making businesses, such as sales at station stalls. However, the welfare of disabled people in the JNR, including the activities of Kōsaikai, has not been previously examined. This study clarified the structure of disability welfare in the Japanese railroad industry until the early postwar period. People with a lower degree of disability, such as one upper or lower member amputation, were employed by the JNR, while some of these people were employed by Kōsaikai as sellers or officers, or accepted job training in Kōsaikai workshops. On the contrary, although few people with higher degrees of disability were employed by the JNR and Kōsaikai, the latter employed their family members to compensate them for their living costs.

Type
Featured Essays on the History of Disability in Japan
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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