Infinity of possibilities
Everyone has enormous possibilities, but few people have a chance to recognize it.
I have been manufacturing custom chairs and wheelchairs for the best fitting of patients since 1974. By using the chair, bedridden patients could be raised to a sitting position. I recognized many possibilities of human beings through this job.
For instance, boy K age 3 was hydrocephalic. Because of his surgery was unsuccessful, he became bedridden and his head was more than 90cm around. His nurses were trying to raise him with a triangle wedge mat.
In this facility I was working as a rehabilitation engineer. In order to make chairs better fitting to each patient, I was stationed there away from “Deku Kobo” in Tokyo, which is my home base.
At first I asked a prosthetic technician to manufacture a custom fit brace for his heavy head. I made his chair to eliminate an excessive load on his neck, and make it possible to raise his body in the chair step by step.
Since the chair was prepared, his caring staff reported a daily progress. His body was more raised day by day. Eventually he became to be able to eat by mouth and to go outside being seated on the chair. In the beginning, nobody expected this to happen.
I often have experiences in exhibitions of welfare equipment. Some mothers come by with their child on a custom fit buggy. I talk to them. “Do you mind if I to put your child on this wheelchair?” They usually reply, “My baby cannot use its hands. It’s no use for him to ride in the wheelchair.” I insist by saying, “Please, why don’t you just give it a try?” Then half of the mothers reluctantly accept my suggestion.
An amazing thing would happen. Children can move the wheelchair by their hands, which are supposed to be useless. They are so surprised because they can move the wheelchair just by putting their hands on the wheel. The mothers look at it amazed. A second later they understand what happened. The children express their joy with their whole body from the fact that they could move by themselves for the first time in their life! As a result, the mothers have a difficult time in getting their children off the wheelchair.
When you look for something, if you are not sure where it is, you may not find it. On the other hand if you trust that it should be there, it is more likely that you may find it. Don’t you find this is a similar story?
Profile of Yuuji Mitsuno
He was born in Sasebo city, Nagasaki prefecture in 1949. He graduated from Kanazawa College of Art in 1972. After that he worked in Design Institute of Hitachi, Ltd. He established “Deku Kobo” in Nerima ward, Tokyo in 1974. He joined as a member of a facility for heavily impaired children in 1983. He founded “Mugen Kobo” in 1988. (Currently chairman) He founded Panthera Japan Co. in 2003. (Currently a corporate adviser) Since 2011 he is chairman of a private limited company “Deku Kobo”.
Published books: “Tool Manufacturing For Life” Published by Shobun Books, “Create Barrier Free” Paperback by Iwanami Shinsho, “Barrier Free for Everyone” Paperback by Iwanami Junior Shinsho, multi-authored “Introduction for Seating” Chuohoki Publishing Co., Ltd., and multi-authored “Recommendation of User Friendly Wheelchairs” Miwa-Shoten Ltd. etc.
Blog : http://mitsunoy.jugem.jp/