Don’t Push Wheelchairs, Pull Them!

I’m very excited to be sharing the very first post to Japanese Innovations!  This idea is really representative of the purpose of the website.  It’s a novel, simple, and highly impactful idea.  It is also something that has the power to make life better for those who need it most.  

This comes from what will likely be a foundational source of ideas for the blog.  It is a popular documentary TV show in Japan called “Gaia no Yoake”, or Dawn of Earth.  Here is the synopsis in Japanese, with the English translation following.

車椅子を「押す」のではなく「引く」…画期的な装置とは?

一方、東日本大震災で、車いすを利用していた方たちの中に、逃げ遅れて犠牲になった方が多くいたと言う。そこで、中村正善さんは、車いすを「押す」のではなく、人力車のように「引く」ことができる装着式のアタッチメントを生み出した。自治体では、南海トラフ巨大地震に備え、この商品を防災訓練に使用したり、常備したりする動きが出てきた。さらに、車いすを「押す」だけでは行けなかった場所へも、「引く」ことで行けるようになると気付いた中村さん。防災だけでなく観光でも使えるのではないかと考え、広く売り込みを始めた。

English:                                                                                                               Don’t Push Wheelchairs, Pull Them!…What is This Ground Breaking Apparatus?    

During the Tohoku Earthquake there was a large number of people in wheelchairs that couldn’t get to safety in time and lost their lives. So, Mr. Masayoshi Nakamura came up with an attachment that allows one to pull a wheelchair like a rickshaw, rather than push it.  The local government has been using this product in disaster exercises, and is keeping it at the ready in preparation for a large earthquake from the Nankai Sea.  Mr. Nakamura has also realized that there are some places that you can only go to by pulling a wheelchair, not just by pushing it.  Knowing that this can be used for things like sightseeing, in addition to disaster situations, he has been working hard to promote it far and wide.                     

Isn’t that a great idea?!  Please watch the video and let me know what you think.  Unfortunately, it’s only in Japanese.  Mr. Nakamura was driven to create this out of his desire to help his little brother as a child, and now he’s able to help many others with his invention.  If there’s anyone out there that uses a wheelchair, I’d love to hear what your reaction to this is.

Here’s the Video:

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