August 29, 2017
Dr. Wendy Williams, associate professor of Professional Practice in the Honors College, was recently awarded a Global Innovators grant from the Discovering Global Citizenship program, which is the five-year Quality Enhancement Plan to increase internationalization at TCU. With funding for her proposal, “The Value of Quality of Life Experiences for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Adults in Japan,” Dr. Williams will host Mr. Katsuhiro Kanzaki of Tokyo, Japan at TCU on November 13-17.
Mr. Kanzaki is the current vice chairman and comprehensive facility director of Budouno-Ki (Grapevine) Institution, a facility that provides full-time care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tokyo, Japan. While the Japanese government provides funding for the residents’ basic needs, such as shelter and food, the institution cannot afford to offer many real-life opportunities such as day and overnight travel.
As director of Budouno-Ki, he has dedicated his life’s work to ensuring that members of the facility have, to quote Mr. Kanzaki, “the same quality of life experiences as non-disabled persons,” such as travelling abroad. For five years, Mr. Kanzaki budgeted for group home members to take a trip to Guam, and he trained staff and group home members to prepare for the excursion. In 2016, eight group home members and five employees from Budouno-Ki travelled successfully to Guam for three days and four nights. Mr. Kanzaki’s goal is to “expand this project and create quality of life programs not only at my institution but also at similar institutions in Japan and eventually throughout the world. Disabled persons everywhere deserve to live their best lives, and we able-bodied and able-minded have a duty to help them.” In spring 2018, Mr. Kanzaki will transition to a new role as chief of staff at Ayumino-ie (Home of Foot Steps) in Gifu prefecture where he will oversee the care of 200-300 disabled adults who live with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, low IQ, and other disabilities. Through the Global Innovators grant from TCU, Mr. Kanzaki will have $25,000 to create quality of life experiences at Ayumino-ie.
The work that Mr. Kanzaki has accomplished on quality of life experiences for disabled adults is unprecedented in Japan, and he hopes to bring awareness to his work and to establish similar models in Japan and abroad. While at TCU, Mr. Kanzaki will explore disability as an issue that impacts domestic and global communities, and he will visit a variety of classes, including Dr. Williams’ “Nature of Values” Honors class. He will also hold a public lecture on the quality of life of the intellectually and developmentally disabled population, as well as a panel discussion with directors of group homes in Fort Worth on the topic of quality of life for disabled adults living in group facilities in Japan and in the United States. TCU students will also have the opportunity to visit the Fort Worth Japanese gardens with Mr. Kanzaki, where he will facilitate a discussion on Japanese aesthetics, religion, history, and philosophy expressed through the traditional gardens.
Dr. Williams envisions that Mr. Kanzaki’s visit will highlight “quality of life opportunities to those who are disabled, to create awareness of this basic human right, and to develop cultural empathy and intercultural competence in TCU students as a result of such awareness.” There is also the potential for continued engagement, as Dr. Williams will take students on an Honors Abroad learning opportunity to Japan in fall 2018. While in Japan, students will engage in quality of life experiences with Mr. Kanzaki and group home members at Ayumino-ie through a service learning excursion.
Additional information regarding Mr. Kanzaki’s visit is forthcoming and days/times/locations for his speaking engagements will be posted on the Events page of the Honors website. For additional details about Dr. Williams’ Honors Abroad trip to Japan, please contact Dr. Williams directly.