My Personal History
   Network for Life and Heart Ehon no KAI AYA -Picturebook Group AYA- 
           
   I was born with Down's syndrome in Kagoshima city, Japan in 1974.

 1993 graduated from Makizono Prefectural Senior High School in Kagoshima. 
 1998 March, graduated from Department of English Literature Kagoshima Women's University (Now Shigakukan University).
   May, took part in the"3rd Asia Pacific Down's syndrome Conference" in Auckland, New Zealand, and made a speech in English as a panelist.
 1999 received librarian's licence.
   I 'm giving speeches to enhance understanding for Down's Syndrome throughout Japan various organizations and universities. For example, learned society, a nursing vocational school, etc.
   And now, I'm studying French and English conversation as an auditor at Shigakukan University.

  A member of Japan Down's Syndrome Association(JDS)
This composition is my speech of 3rd Asia Pacific Down's Syndrome Conference.
           My Personal History Book
                    Aya lwamoto from Japan  1998.5.9

      Hello Everybody! My name is Aya lwamoto, I'm from Japan.
      I am happy to meet everyone.
      I graduated from Kagoshima Women's University in the Department of English Literature on 20 March this year. The commencement was the best day of my life that I never forget. I was very happy.
      But I was perplexed because there were a lot of newspaper reporters and photographers.
      After the representative of Department got a degree, the President of Kagoshima Women's University, Mr. Sunagawa congratulated on the graduates. He touched on me in this speech, "It is a very wonderful that there is Miss. Aya lwamoto in the graduated students. Her intense figure made a deep impression and courage on the school-mates.
      That must give a hope and encourage people who have same handicap.
      Her effort is wonderful. It is our pride to assist her studies."
      I was deeply moved by his word and tears came to my eyes. My parents shed in tears, too.
      I'm going to a Women's University to obtain a librarian's license now. It's my dream to become a librarian in a quiet library. I am studying French, too. I want to go and see pictures at Le Musee Louvre and Le Musee d'Orsay in France.
      My hobbies are listening to music and looking up words in the dictionary.
      Today, I am going to talk about my personal history book.
      My parents have published “Hashirikitareyo-Akoyo” it means:“Come to Mama, Dear.”subtitled“A child with Down syndrome weaves her dreams and goes to University”on 25th January 1998. My mother and father wrote the book about the period from my birth to my entering Kagoshima Women's University,and I wrote my impressions of the book at the end.
     I have been sick since I was born, and my parents had a lot of trouble.
      I grew up without knowing much about my illness. When I was in my second year at University, I learned for the first time that I have a handicap. While I was watching a program about Down's syndrome on Japan's NHK television, I asked my father about it, and he told me I have Down's syndrome. I was feeling about it faintly, but it was very shock for me. My mind went blank.
      Then I saw my mother writing about my illness on a word processor. It really surprised me, and I didn't want to believe it. I was very sad.
      I learned that my parents were going to publish my personal history book and make public my illness and tell about my family in the book. I worried, and I don't want them to reveal my illness. I cried in sorrow.
      My father and mother said“You have done wonderfully. Don't be afraid. Take pride in yourself.”
      I talked about my worries to Dr. Tanaka, who works at the Child General Consultation Center in Kagoshima City. He said, “It is very important that you tell about your handicap.” At first, I thought I can't tell everybody the truth, but I was encouraged by his words, so I made up my mind to tell the truth.
      Besides, my relatives and my parent's friends cheered me up.
     I'm not afraid anymore, and there's no need to hide the truth. I want many people to read this book that my parents have published. I'd like them to understand the feelings of the handicapped.
      The book has finally been published. The book has a rose cover, and it was very beautiful. I like it very much. Soon after our book was published, articles about our family and the book appeared in the Asahi newspaper, the Yomiuri, the Mainichi, the Minaminihon, the Nishinihon and other newspapers.
      We got a lot of letters and telephone calls from all parts of Japan. They said, “I was deeply moved by your book.”, “You gave me courage.”, “I cried reading this book.”, “I found hope for the future.” and so forth.
       We were encouraged by their messages. I think that it was a very good thing that my parents published this book.
       I also hope to work with handicapped children. I have a lot of dreams.
       People have a shallow view and a prejudice against the Down syndrome in Japan now. I am sad it.
        Life is short, but precious. That's why I won't give up my hopes and dreams.
      I am grateful to many people helped me, and I want to say my parents “Thank you for giving birth to me.”
      Thank you

   

               Back